Keith Appling

Tom Izzo uncertain as to when Keith Appling will return to lineup

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No. 9 Michigan State was forced to play without starting point guard Keith Appling on Thursday night, with Appling being forced to miss the game due to a right wrist injury he’s been dealing with for quite some time. The Spartans took care of Penn State without Appling, with Kenny Kaminski scoring 19 points, Denzel Valentine adding a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds and six assists) and Adreian Payne scoring 12 points in his first game in nearly a month.

But Michigan State’s trip to Wisconsin for a game with the reeling Badgers Sunday afternoon is a different matter, with the Badgers looking to get back to being an incredibly difficult team to beat at the Kohl Center. Bo Ryan’s Badgers have lost their last three games at home, with that being the first such streak during Ryan’s tenure.

Given the Badgers’ talent (and need for a win) the fact that, according to, he’s unsure of when Appling will be able to return doesn’t help Izzo as he prepares his team for this difficult test.

“I have no idea,” Izzo said. “This has been the most frustrating. It’s beyond disgusting. I have no timeframe. I know he won’t practice tomorrow. Whether he does on Saturday or plays Sunday or whether we’re going (to Wisconsin) without him. I wish I could tell you. If I knew, I’d tell you.”

Appling, currently averaging 15.0 points and 4.9 assists per game, is a player the Spartans need to have on the floor for the stretch run if they’re to contend for a national title. And as we’ve seen with the way in which Izzo handled Payne’s (foot injury) status, it’s unlikely that the point guard returns to the court before he gets back to full strength.

Sunday’s game is an important one, as Michigan State’s tied for first place in the Big Ten with Michigan, so it would be good to have Appling available. But that will only happen if he’s healthy enough to contribute without risking further injury.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.