August 11, 2014 at 4:10 pm

MSU assistant Harlon Barnett a casualty of 'casual hoops' with ruptured Achilles

East Lansing — Mark Dantonio said his team came out of Saturday’s scrimmage unscathed, but the same can’t be said for the coaching staff.

As the Michigan State team headed to the practice field Monday morning for the start of the second week of preseason camp, one person was hobbling — defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett.

Instead of running out to the field, Barnett waited for a cart to pick him up, thanks to a ruptured right Achilles suffered over the weekend while playing basketball.

“Casual hoops,” Barnett said. “I’m done with that.”

Dantonio typically doesn’t talk about injuries to his players and jokingly kept the same approach with Barnett.

“We don’t talk much about injuries,” Dantonio said. “He’s not out for the year, so that’s a positive.”

Barnett, who won a Rose Bowl with the Spartans in 1988, is in his eighth season coaching at Michigan State and his 11th overall after coming from Cincinnati with Dantonio.

As for the rest of the team, Dantonio said he was pleased with the play of the quarterbacks and receivers in Saturday’s scrimmage as players continue to battle for spots on the depth chart this week.

“It’s a little bit of dog days,” he said. “You have been out here for a week. The freshmen are figuring out that this is not a picnic out here. There is work to be done. I think our older players are figuring out, some of them are going through two-a-days for the last time, others are just going through it. This is the grind time. The heat gets turned up as it gets a little closer to game time.”

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Michigan State defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett had his injured let cradled in a foam support as he sat in a cart during practice Monday. / Dale G. Young / Detroit News