Isaac Haas wanted to play with broken elbow, but NCAA wouldn't let him

Isaac Haas wanted to be a hero. He wanted to play for Purdue in the NCAA tournament despite fracturing his right elbow two days earlier. The senior wanted to prolong his career despite an injury that will eventually require surgery.

Unfortunately, the NCAA wouldn’t let him.

Haas, Purdue’s 7-foot-2 center, warmed up with teammates ahead of Sunday’s second-round game against Butler – a game Purdue eventually won, 76-73. He did so with a bulky black brace on his right arm, and tried to test the broken elbow. But the NCAA wouldn’t clear the brace that Haas would have needed to play.

An NCAA spokesman confirmed that officials inspected the brace “and determined it didn’t meet player safety standards.”

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The academic ranking of 2018 March Madness teams
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The academic ranking of 2018 March Madness teams

Penn

NCAA ranking: 64

U.S. News & World Report: #8 National University

(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

Duke

NCAA ranking: 6

U.S. News & World Report: #9 National University

(Photo by Michael Berg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

UCLA

NCAA ranking: 41

U.S. News & World Report: #21 National University (tie)

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Virginia

NCAA ranking: 1

U.S. News & World Report: #25 National University

(Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Michigan

NCAA ranking: 11

U.S. News & World Report: #28 National University

(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

North Carolina

NCAA ranking: 5

U.S. News & World Report: #30 National University (tie)

(Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Florida

NCAA ranking: 21

U.S. News & World Report: #42 National University (tie)

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Miami (FL)

NCAA ranking: 22

U.S. News & World Report: #46 National University (tie)

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Villanova

NCAA ranking: 2

U.S. News & World Report: #46 National University (tie)

(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Ohio State

NCAA ranking: 20

U.S. News & World Report: #54 National University (tie)

(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Purdue

NCAA ranking: 7

U.S. News & World Report: #56 National University (tie)

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Texas

NCAA ranking: 39

U.S. News & World Report: #56 National University (tie)

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Syracuse

NCAA ranking: 44

U.S. News & World Report: #61 National University (tie)

(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Clemson

NCAA ranking: 19

U.S. News & World Report: #67 National University

(Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images)

Texas A&M

NCAA ranking: 25

U.S. News & World Report: #69 National University (tie)

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Virginia Tech

NCAA ranking: 31

U.S. News & World Report: #69 National University (tie)

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Texas Christian University (TCU)

NCAA ranking: 24

U.S. News & World Report: #78 National University (tie)

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Florida State

NCAA ranking: 38

U.S. News & World Report: #81 National University (tie)

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Michigan State

NCAA ranking: 9

U.S. News & World Report: #81 National University (tie)

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

North Carolina State

NCAA ranking: 37

U.S. News & World Report: #81 National University (tie)

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Buffalo

NCAA ranking: 51

U.S. News & World Report: #97 National University (tie)

(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Oklahoma

NCAA ranking: 40

U.S. News & World Report: #97 National University (tie)

(Photo by David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Auburn

NCAA ranking: 13

U.S. News & World Report: #103 National University (tie)

(Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Loyola-Chicago

NCAA ranking: 46

U.S. News & World Report: #103 National University (tie)

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Tennessee

NCAA ranking: 10

U.S. News & World Report: #103 National University (tie)

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Alabama

NCAA ranking: 36

U.S. News & World Report: #110 National University (tie)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Arizona State

NCAA ranking: 43

U.S. News & World Report: #115 National University (tie)

(Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kansas

NCAA ranking: 3

U.S. News & World Report: #115 National University (tie)

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Missouri

NCAA ranking: 32

U.S. News & World Report: #120 National University (tie)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Seton Hall

NCAA ranking: 29

U.S. News & World Report: #124 National University (tie)

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Arizona

NCAA ranking: 16

U.S. News & World Report: #124 National University (tie)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Arkansas

NCAA ranking: 26

U.S. News & World Report: #133 National University (tie)

(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Cincinnati

NCAA ranking: 8

U.S. News & World Report: #133 National University (tie)

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Kentucky

NCAA ranking: 17

U.S. News & World Report: #133 National University (tie)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

San Diego State

NCAA ranking: 45

U.S. News & World Report: #140 National University (tie)

(Photo by Josh Holmberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kansas State

NCAA ranking: 34

U.S. News & World Report: #145 National University (tie)

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rhode Island

NCAA ranking: 28

U.S. News & World Report: #156 National University (tie)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Maryland – Baltimore County

NCAA ranking: 63

U.S. News & World Report: #159 National University (tie)

(Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Texas Tech

NCAA ranking: 12

U.S. News & World Report: #176 National University (tie)

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Lipscomb

NCAA ranking: 59

U.S. News & World Report: #181 National University (tie)

(Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

West Virginia

NCAA ranking: 18

U.S. News & World Report: #187 National University (tie)

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Houston

NCAA ranking: 23

U.S. News & World Report: #192 National University (tie)

(Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

New Mexico State

NCAA ranking: 47

U.S. News & World Report: #198 National University (tie)

(Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

California State University -- Fullerton

NCAA ranking: 61

U.S. News & World Report: #202 National University (tie)

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Nevada

NCAA ranking: 27

U.S. News & World Report: #202 National University (tie)

(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Montana

NCAA ranking: 56

U.S. News & World Report: #207 National University (tie)

(Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

South Dakota State

NCAA ranking: 49            

U.S. News & World Report: #216 National University (tie)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Georgia State

NCAA ranking: 60

U.S. News & World Report: #223 National University (tie)

(Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Wichita State

NCAA ranking: 14

U.S. News & World Report: #231-300 National University

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Texas Southern

NCAA ranking: 68

U.S. News & World Report: #231-300 National University

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

University of North Carolina -- Greensboro

NCAA ranking: 52

U.S. News & World Report: #231-300 National University

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Wright State

NCAA ranking: 57

U.S. News & World Report: #231-300 National University

(Photo by Andy Hancock/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Davidson

NCAA ranking: 48

U.S. News & World Report: #10 National Liberal Arts College

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Bucknell

NCAA ranking: 55

U.S. News & World Report: #33 National Liberal Arts College

(Photo by Brian Utesch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Creighton

NCAA ranking: 30

U.S. News & World Report: #1 Regional University (Midwest)

(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

Providence

NCAA ranking: 35

U.S. News & World Report: #1 Regional University (North)

(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Butler

NCAA ranking: 33

U.S. News & World Report: #2 Regional University (Midwest)

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Gonzaga

NCAA ranking: 15

U.S. News & World Report: #4 Regional University (West)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Xavier

NCAA ranking: 4

U.S. News & World Report: #5 Regional University (Midwest)

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

College of Charleston

NCAA ranking: 53

U.S. News & World Report: #12 Regional University (South)

(Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

St. Bonaventure

NCAA ranking: 42

U.S. News & World Report: #21 Regional University (North)

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Murray State

NCAA ranking: 50

U.S. News & World Report: #32 Regional University (South)

(Photo by Stephen Furst/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Marshall

NCAA ranking: 54

U.S. News & World Report: #43 Regional University (South) (tie)

(Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportwire)

Radford

NCAA ranking: 65

U.S. News & World Report: #43 Regional University (South) (tie)

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Stephen F. Austin

NCAA ranking: 58

U.S. News & World Report: #73 Regional University (West)

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Iona

NCAA ranking: 62

U.S. News & World Report: #75 Regional University (North)

(Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

North Carolina Central

NCAA ranking: 67

U.S. News & World Report: #80 Regional University (South)

(Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Long Island University -- Brooklyn

NCAA ranking: 66

U.S. News & World Report: Not ranked

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Those standards, as laid out in the NCAA rulebook, are, in part:

Art. 1. The referee shall not permit any player to wear equipment that in his or her judgment is dangerous to other players.

 

Art. 2. Elbow, hand, finger, wrist or forearm guards, casts or braces made of fiberglass, plaster, metal or any other nonpliable substance, shall be prohibited.

Art. 4. Pliable (flexible or easily bent) material, covered on all exterior sides and edges with not less than 1/2-inch thickness of a slow-rebounding foam, may be used to immobilize and protect an injury.

 

Art. 5. Equipment that could cut or cause an injury to another player shall be prohibited, without respect to whether the equipment is hard. Excessively long fingernails shall be prohibited.

Here’s a look at the brace Haas wore during warmups:

Videos showed Haas trying to lift his arm and put up shots, but he was clearly grimacing and unable to use the right arm fully functionally. He was able to get up some close-range shots in warmups, but didn’t look at all comfortable:

When he did shoot from beyond 10 feet, he did so with his non-dominant left hand:

Haas broke the elbow fighting for a rebound during Purdue’s first-round victory over Cal State Fullerton:

It’s unclear if Purdue would have let Haas play if the NCAA had cleared the brace. Head coach Matt Painter said Saturday that he did not think Haas would be able to play.

But that is now a moot point after the NCAA’s ruling on the brace, and after Purdue held off Butler without him. Freshman center Matt Haarms, starting in place of Haas, had seven rebounds and six points. The Boilermakers nearly blew a double-digit lead in the second half, but held on for a 76-73 victory.

They’ll take on Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 on Friday. Despite the five days in between games, it will likely be without Haas again.

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Henry Bushnell covers soccer and college basketball for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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