Sore ankle to keep MSU's Bridges out at least 2 weeks
East Lansing – Michigan State got news on Thursday it had no intention of hearing – freshman forward Miles Bridges will be out at least two weeks with a left ankle injury.
Coach Tom Izzo made the announcement after practice, one in which Bridges watched form the sidelines with boot on his foot.
“He’s got an ankle injury and he’s gonna be out a couple weeks, it looks like,” Izzo said. “It kind of, I don’t know exactly what it is yet, but it’s been sore and it’s right on the top (of the ankle). So it’s in a position where we need to just take care of it. We got to take care of it and he’s gonna rest it for at least a couple weeks, that’s why he’s on crutches and then it will be a day-to-day evaluation.”
Bridges is Michigan State’s leading scorer and rebounding, averaging 16.6 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. He had just 11 points in the loss to Duke on Tuesday and it was after that game the ankle became a problem.
“It just got sore after – I don’t know if he twisted it or what – after the Duke game, is when he said it really started to bother him,” Izzo said. “So they took precautionary X-rays and that and there’s no broken bones or anything, but he’s gonna be out for a little bit.”
It’s just the latest injury to hamper the Spartans, who lost a pair of big men before the season even started. Senior Gavin Schilling and graduate transfer Ben Carter both injured their knee in practice and have been out since while freshman guard Joshua Langford missed both exhibition games and was slow to recover from a hamstring injury.
Izzo reiterated on Thursday his belief Carter is out for the season and said he’s still unsure on the status of Schilling.
“The decision will be make on when he tries to come back, what he can do,” Izzo said. “If it gets longer I go to thing about Gavin, too.”
What Izzo is not thinking about at the moment is how the latest injury can affect his team at a time it needs to make its biggest amount of growth. Coming off a difficult November that resulted in a 4-4 record, the next five games are at home and provide a chance to make significant progress headed into Big Ten play.
“Everybody has been through it, Duke, Michigan last year has been through it,” Izzo said. “Guys sitting out means guys got to step up.
“This is a critical time in every way shape and form. If there’s something Miles gets out of this he’ll be sitting at the front of that bench with me. He’s gonna be coaching the team a little bit and see how frustrating it gets with some of the mistakes. He won’t be at the end of the bench, he’ll be right up at the front with us. Maybe in some ways it will benefit him in some respects.”
What Michigan State does with Bridges out remains to be seen, but Izzo and his staff have been experimenting with different lineups all season, something that will surely continue now.
Sophomore Kyle Ahrens could see a bigger role, as well as senior Alvin Ellis. Izzo even talked about playing the two big players he does have – sophomore Kenny Goins and freshman Nick Ward – together, something he’s avoided to this point.
“This will sound sick but it’s been fun sitting in the staff room every day and trying to come up new things, different plays, different ways to cover things to adjust to our team,” Izzo said. “That’s what a good coach and a good staff has to do. You have to adjust to personnel. We’ve done a lot of adjusting this year and still at times are playing awfully good basketball and times we’re not.”
Michigan State will play its first game without Bridges on Saturday when it hosts Oral Roberts at 4:30 p.m.
It’s then that the Spartans will find out who steps up in his absence.
“It’s just another one of those things,” freshman guard Cassius Winston said. “He’s a huge part of our team and he will be back real soon. While he’s out we’ll do everything we can to play harder and play better for him so when he comes back he can step right into his role and keep it rolling.”