Following the Michigan State loss to Ohio State in the last game in the Breslin Center this season, the Spartans received some unfortunate news—freshman up-and-coming star forward, Branden Dawson, tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee and would be out for the season.
With 10:16 remaining in the first half of the MSU/OSU game, Branden Dawson fell to the floor and immediately began clutching his knee. After finally making it to the locker room with assistance from coaching staff, an MRI was taken and it was confirmed that Dawson had suffered a torn ACL.
He played seven minutes, scoring four points and making two field goals and grabbing two steals. The last game against Ohio State, Dawson played great defense on William Buford holding him to four points. Buford took full advantage with Dawson being out and put up a game high 25 points.
The extremely athletic 6'6" wing will be most missed on the boards and for his perimeter defense. Dawson averaged 21.1 minutes a game, 8.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and was an essential part of the Spartans frontcourt rotation that constantly dominated on the glass.
This is a heartbreaking loss at such a critical time for a team that has done so much this year and has come so far.
Although this doesn't end the season for the Spartans, it certainly hurts their title chances. Michigan State is a very good team with the best player in the B1G and with arguably the best coach in the country, so they still have the pieces to overcome this issue and make it deep in the tournament. Players such as Brandan Kearney, Austin Thorton and Russell Byrd will have to step up and fill some of Dawson's role if they want to make a run in the tournament.
Before the news was given on how severe Dawson's injury was, Spartans captain Draymond Green talked about a similar situation in 2010 when the Spartans lost star guard Kalin Lucas, “In 2010 we lost our best player in the second round and were able to reach the Final Four. So it wouldn’t be the end of the world. It would be a tough loss for us. But when someone goes down, that’s someone else’s opportunity to step up.”
With the loss, Michigan State tied Ohio State and Michigan with 13-5 records atop the Big Ten to be regular season co-champions, but will be the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament next week in Indianapolis.