Madison, Wis. — Before Michigan State left for Wisconsin, coach Tom Izzo held out a small amount of hope senior guard Keith Appling would be back in the lineup.
Appling has been bothered by a sore wrist all season and did not play Thursday against Penn State, the first time he has missed a game in his Michigan State career.
But after the Spartans’ 60-58 loss to the Badgers on Sunday, Izzo seemed frustrated and had very few answers, indicating Appling could be out much longer than he first expected.
“I got a feeling Appling’s out for a couple weeks,” Izzo said. “I have no idea. … There’s no break, there’s no stress fracture, but he can’t even pass the ball, he can’t move his hand. It happened in a two-day period. I’m looking at it right now that I’m not even gonna think about him this week because you go into practice wondering if he’s gonna play. I gotta play with the guys I got.”
Appling hasn’t talked with the media since the Spartans lost to Georgetown last weekend in New York.
But the uncertainty over the injury to Appling that originally occurred in early December when Michigan State played North Carolina was obvious after the game.
“Maybe ask my trainer and my doctor, because I sure as hell am not an M.D.,” Izzo said. “Unless it stands for mentally disturbed, then maybe I am. I’m not a doctor, I have no idea. I’m sick of it, I’m tired of it, it’s nobody’s fault, it just happened. I feel like I’m lying to you when I say, ‘Well, there’s nothing wrong, he’s gonna be day-to-day,’ and three days later after they did some work on him he wasn’t even close to suiting up. I’d say we’re now week-to-week.”
Appling’s injury is just the latest for Michigan State, who is also without Branden Dawson, who missed his fifth game with a broken hand. Adreian Payne was back for the second straight game and scored 24 points while playing 32 minutes.
While Payne’s sprained right foot has had no setbacks, he has had to work hard to get his conditioning back, something that didn’t faze him when he hit a 3-pointer to tie the game with 8.7 seconds to play.
“The foot was fine,” Izzo said. “He had a lot of issues with his conditioning. I’ll give Adreian credit, I thought he played poorly the first half. Didn’t guard anybody. The second half I thought he played phenomenal, which makes no sense. He was tired and he was sucking it up, even to the point where we went to him on that last shot and boy, he delivered. I give that kid a lot of credit. Missing a month and coming back and finding a way to play 32 minutes in an intense game. If there’s any question about his mental or physical toughness I think that should be erased.”
Izzo said he knew Traevon Jackson was going to take the last shot for Wisconsin; that’s why he put Gary Harris on him.
It made no difference as Jackson scored over Harris to give the Badgers the victory. It was a bittersweet moment for Michigan State guard Travis Trice. Not only did his 3-pointer from halfcourt barely miss at the buzzer, he is good friends with Jackson.
“We grew up together, playing against each other both being from Ohio,” Trice said. “I was with him all summer working out and we got really close this summer. I really love that dude.”
With Appling out and Payne back in the starting lineup, Michigan State used its 14th different starting lineup this season and 13th in the last 19 games. On the flip side, Wisconsin has used the same starting lineup in all 24 games this season.
… Wisconsin’s victory Sunday ended a five-game skid against Michigan State, which had won eight of the last 10 against Wisconsin. It also was the Badgers’ first win at home after losing three straight.