Every college football team in the country has to deal with starters and potential impact players sustaining injuries in preseason camps. On Monday afternoon, the Michigan State Spartans revealed they will be without starting junior left guard Blake Treadwell and true freshman wide receiver Aaron Burbridge for over a month.
Treadwell, who received a medical redshirt last season after starting the Spartans' first three games at center before injuring his knee and missing the rest of the 2011 campaign, is expected to miss four to five weeks with a hairline fracture in his tibia according to a report by Diamond Leung of MLive.com on Wednesday.
The 6'3", 300-pounder began the transition from center to left guard this spring and held a slight lead over redshirt freshman Jack Allen in the competition to replace four-year starting left guard Joel Foreman.
Although the injury to Treadwell will hurt Michigan State's depth along the offensive line, the Spartans' offensive coordinator Dan Roushar does not believe the quality of play from his offensive line will suffer with Allen in the starting lineup.
"I have been very impressed," Roushar told Paul Konyndyk of SpartanMag.com. "I thought (Allen) had a heck of a scrimmage, graded out highly, was very sound. He is an excellent run blocker. I think we've got a guy that has a chance to be very special in there for us."
Junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell is not worried about Allen's ability to keep opposing defensive linemen out of the backfield.
"Unfortunately what happened to Blake, you don't want to see happen to anybody," Maxwell said. "But when you have a backup like Jack who can step up and who has the smarts and the physical ability to play that position, you're definitely comfortable with a guy."
Now that Allen is expected to take over the starting duties for Michigan State in their season opener against Boise State on August 31st, the backup left guard spot will be filled by redshirt freshman Donavon Clark.
"Donovan has been really coming on," Roushar said. "I have been pleased with him. He's got to get more sound in there. But he has good movement skills, very athletic, very strong."
Additionally, Burbidge is expected to be out for "at least six weeks" according to Roushar. The four-star wide receiver, who was Michigan State's top rated prospect in their 2012 recruiting class, had arthroscopic knee surgery "to repair an injury that was sustained before he arrived on campus."
Burbridge appeared to have enough talent to work his way onto the field as a true freshman in some of Michigan State's multiple wide receiver sets, but the injury will have the Spartan coaches thinking about whether or not they should redshirt the recent Farmington Hills Harrison High School graduate.
Fellow true freshman wide receiver Monty Madaris will also miss some time with a high ankle sprain, however the coaching staff is not certain how long the Ohio native will be held out.
"Those are two big blows to that receiver corps," Roushar said. "We were hoping to get a feel for where they were at and what they could do for us."
Neither Burbridge or Madaris were mentioned last Monday by Michigan State's wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel when he rattled off a list of six wideouts who are likely to play significant minutes for the Spartans this season.
Check back for more news from Michigan State's preseason practices in the coming days.
Zach Dirlam is the former lead editor of the college basketball section as well as Big Ten columnist for the FOX Sports/MSN/YardBarker affiliate website Sports at Work. Check out his blog, Dirlam's Dirty Dugout Sports Blog, which features this story, along with other articles and video reports on major sports.
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