Kenny Kaminski will likely redshirt next season due to a "torn labrum in his right shoulder." Depth has always played an important role for head coach Tom Izzo, and Michigan State still has plenty of time to create a strong rotation.
The news is frustrating for many Michigan State fans, particularly because of the repetitiveness of preseason injuries in East Lansing. Just two years ago, Russell Byrd injured his foot and was forced to redshirt.
We can hope Kaminski regains his shooting touch, as Byrd did not showcase his last season. Because Kaminski injured his shooting shoulder, he may face a tougher return to his original form.
He's predicted to be out four to six months, so there is a chance that he returns during the 2012-13 season. But a redshirt appears to be the easiest way to go.
On a more positive note, Izzo will have one less player who deserves playing time. There was a chance that Kaminski would redshirt anyway because of the amount of high-quality depth for Michigan State.
The starting frontcourt for Michigan State next season will likely consist of Derrick Nix, Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson. Nix and Payne split time at center last season beside Draymond Green, and Dawson was a mainstay at small forward.
Playing Nix and Payne together only increases the size and length down low for Izzo. Depending on the matchup, either could start at center for the Spartans. The other would likely start at power forward.
Dawson is more of a wing player, but because of his activity on the glass and nose for the ball, he will play some power forward next year, especially if Nix or Payne get into early foul trouble.
What do you think of Kaminski's injury?
Behind those three, Izzo was supposed to have two stout freshmen bigs. He'll have to settle for one.
Matt Costello, the third-best prospect in Michigan State's lauded recruiting class, is the biggest beneficiary in the Kaminski injury. Costello graded out just below Kaminski, according to the afore-linked ESPN recruit rankings, and should provide Izzo with another able body down low.
He doesn't provide the shooting touch that Kaminski was known for, but has more size and will be able to play at power forward or center.
Between Nix, Payne, Dawson and Costello, Michigan State has a foundation of four players capable of producing efficient minutes in the paint.
Byrd, a 6'7" wing, could also see some time at the four if needed.
Another potential post player for Izzo is Alex Gauna. A redshirt sophomore, Gauna played in 30 games last season at nearly five minutes per game. He has the size (6'9", 240) to play in the paint. But does he have the skill?
As it always is with Izzo, defense will play a huge role in playing time for each player, but Gauna in particular. If he proves to be an asset on that side of the ball, he can give Izzo a decent center behind Nix and Payne.
Some coaches would love to have five to six players that are capable of playing in the frontcourt. Losing Kaminski is a disappointment, but it won't slow the Spartans.