MSU's Valentine believes he could return next week

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Minneapolis — Michigan State coach Tom Izzo isn’t counting on Denzel Valentine playing next week, but the Spartans senior is a bit more optimistic.

The Michigan State senior has missed the last three games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, and he said after Michigan State’s 69-61 over Minnesota that there’s a chance he could be back sooner.

“Hopefully Sunday,” Valentine said, “and if I feel good in practice Monday I might try and play Thursday. But it’s gonna be either this week or next week.”

Michigan State hosts Illinois on Thursday before traveling to Penn State on Sunday.

The Spartans have won two of three without Valentine, but getting back a player who averages 18.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists will be crucial for MSU moving forward.

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After next week, the schedule gets tougher as Michigan State has a rematch with Iowa then travels to Wisconsin.

“We are missing a hell of a player,” Izzo said, “and I don’t care if it’s an excuse or not, he just does so many things for us that we’re patch-working everybody. Defensively, offensively, shot-clock things.”

Valentine said on Saturday that he is about 50 percent.

“I’m feeling better,” he said. “(When I come back) is not really depending on the doctors it’s really depending on how my knee feels day to day.

“I’m like 50 percent right now. I’ve done some shooting. I can’t really jump yet but I’m doing some light jogging and some cardio and lifting.”