No. 9 Michigan State was without starting point guard Keith Appling for the second consecutive game on Sunday, with the senior sitting out due to a nagging right wrist injury. While Travis Trice played well in Appling’s stead in the 60-58 loss at Wisconsin, the Spartans are clearly at their best when Appling is running the show.
With this being the case the question of when Appling will be able to return to the floor is one that hangs over a Michigan State team that has the potential to win a national title. Following the game head coach Tom Izzo addressed Appling’s injury situation, and he doesn’t expect to have Appling back when the Spartans host Northwestern on Thursday night.
Currently averaging 15.0 points and 4.9 assists per game, Appling’s overall field goal percentage (45.3%) is the best of his college career and he’s also shooting 40.5% from beyond the arc. Michigan State’s next three games are against Northwestern, Nebraska and Purdue, with the latter being the lone road tilt.
The Wildcats and Cornhuskers have proven to be formidable teams and the same can be said for Purdue. Following that three-game stretch Michigan State visits No. 10 Michigan (February 23), and for the Spartans it would be nice to have Appling back in the lineup for that one.
But that will only happen if he’s healthy, and given Michigan’s State lack of luck with injuries this season it’s probably best to not make any assumptions as to when Appling will be able to return.