Michigan State survived an upset bid from Boise State on Tuesday night, but the Spartans didn't escape completely unscathed.
Star freshman Gary Harris suffered a shoulder injury 30 seconds into the game, and the news is dreary to say the least.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 6:50 p.m. ET by Tim Keeney
I guess we can add "recovers extremely quickly from injuries" to the growing list of Harris' strengths. Just over a week after he sprained his shoulder and was given a 2-3 week recovery time, the freshman is ready to return to the court.
The news comes from ESPN's Jimmy Dykes:
Trice and Harris both going full speed in pregame warmups. I expect both to play for Spartans tonight vs Canes— Jimmy Dykes (@JimmyDykesLive) November 28, 2012
A surprising development to say the least, but certainly a good one for the Spartans as they prepare to take on an underrated Miami squad.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Wednesday, November 21, 3:10 p.m. ET by Donald Wood
Despite a very grim original prognosis and a gloomy answer from Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo about star freshman Gary Harris shoulder injury, the team’s official website is reporting that he will only miss 2-3 weeks of action:
Michigan State freshman Gary Harris will be out 2-3 weeks with a left shoulder sprain. The evaluation was made following an x-ray and MRI on Wednesday morning. Harris was injured on the first possession of Tuesday night's game against Boise State. Prior to that contest, he was leading the team in scoring at 16.0 ppg.
"It's a shame. Gary was playing so well, and then he goes down with a freak injury," said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. "We need to get him back as soon as his injury allows, but he is one of our toughest players. I know he'll work as hard as he can on the rehab, so that he can get back on the court."
While this is still a blow to the Spartans going forward, the prognosis of less than a month is great for a team that should have no problem treading water until the young star returns.
With a chance for other players to step up, this time away for Harris could actually help the Spartans in the long haul.
---End of Update---
Gary Harris will be out for a while, according to Tom Izzo. MRI tomorrow.— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) November 21, 2012
Head coach Tom Izzo added some even more discouraging news (via Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press):
Izzo on Harris: Best case, sprain, out a couple weeks. Worst case, out a long, long, long, long time. Izzo seems upset, not optimistic.— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) November 21, 2012
"Crushing" doesn't even begin to describe this injury for the Spartans.
Harris may only have three collegiate games under his belt, but he has quickly proven his worth to No. 15 Michigan State, which had Final Four aspirations entering the season.
Coming into Tuesday's game, the highly recruited freshman and former McDonald's All-American was leading the Spartans in scoring with 16.0 points per game. He had yet to find his stroke from the outside (4-of-14), but was proving to be nearly unstoppable in transition and off the dribble.
Who is most important in Harris' absence?
Not only was Harris one of only three Spartans who were proving to be consistent on the offensive end (along with Keith Appling and Branden Dawson), he gave them much-needed backcourt depth.
With Travis Trice out since Michigan State's opener with a concussion, Appling was forced to play all 40 minutes while Dawson logged 33 minutes at one of the wing positions.
Russell Byrd and Brandan Kearney aren't slouches, but the 23 and 27 minutes they played on Tuesday were easily season highs. They are going to need to step up big-time in Harris' absence.
If there is some silver lining here, it's that the Spartans are still over a month away from Big Ten play, which is where they'll need their talented freshman the most.