East Lansing — Joshua Langford almost certainly won’t play on Tuesday night when No. 6 Michigan State hosts Purdue.
After that, there are no guarantees, and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo sees that as a good thing as the junior guard continues to deal with an injury to his left ankle that has forced him to miss the last two games.
“I don’t expect him to play this game for sure,” Izzo said on Monday. “The next one is Sunday, so that’s quite a ways away.”
Meaning, there’s at least a chance Langford sees the court when Michigan State (13-2, 4-0 Big Ten) travels to Penn State.
For now, though, the continued plan of playing it safe with the team’s third-leading scorer and best perimeter defender will continue.
“He’s continuing to get treatment and rest,” Izzo said. “And we’re gonna see where that takes us in the next week or so. Like I said there was some encouraging news that doesn’t look like there’s any long-range problems. But all depends on the treatment and how he responds.”
It’s been more difficult to nail down an exact prognosis because there hasn’t been a real clear answer on exactly what is wrong with Langford, who first experienced discomfort in the ankle during the Northern Illinois game on Dec. 29, forcing him to sit the second half and leading to being on the bench the last two games.
Izzo confirmed after Saturday’s victory at Ohio State that Lanford does not have any broken bones in the ankle or the foot.
“It’s not a stress fracture because it was not in that area,” Izzo said on Saturday. “There didn’t seem to be any break or anything but it’s one of those things where it could be a very long time or not. I think did something to him and we’ll see in next two weeks if they have a clear idea of whether he responds to a little treatment or he doesn’t. I feel a little more comfortable he’s gonna respond to that treatment, but I feel he’ll miss a little time yet.”
With Langford out, junior Kyle Ahrens has started the last two games, which comes after he started four games earlier in the season when Matt McQuaid was out with a deep thigh bruise.
Ahrens has played well, but he, too, is dealing with an ankle injury. In the second half of the Ohio State game, Ahrens stepped on a teammates foot and twisted his left ankle. He went to the locker room to have it re-taped and returned to the game. However, Izzo said Ahrens was limited during practice on Sunday.
With Langford out and Ahrens hampered, expect more minutes for freshmen Aaron Henry, who played at critical times at Ohio State, and Gabe Brown.