MSU coach Tom Izzo recaps last weekend's loss at Purdue and looks ahead to Indiana. Matt Charboneau, The Detroit News
East Lansing — Michigan State junior guard Joshua Langford will miss the rest of the season, the team announced on Wednesday.
Langford has missed the last eight games with a foot injury after starting but sitting out the second half of a victory over Northern Illinois on Dec. 29
The 6-foot-6 guard was averaging 15 points a game through the first 13 of the season. He was shooting 40.3 percent (29-for-72) from 3-point range. He’s started 76 of 83 career games and is averaging 10.2 points a game while shooting 40.7 percent from 3-point range.
“It's with great sadness that I have to announce that after numerous studies, rehabilitation and an attempt at return, it has been determined that Josh will miss the remainder of the season," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. "Josh has a stress injury that we caught fairly early and we had hoped that, with treatment and rest, he would recover. He has not, and will likely need surgery to prevent problems in the future.
“We hate this for Josh and our team, as he was one of our leading scorers, one of our top 3-point shooters and one of our two best defensive guards. But our commitment to Josh and his long-term health is paramount. Josh has seen the best specialist in the country on this issue and we are putting together a plan for his complete recovery for the 2019-20 season.”
No. 6 Michigan State (18-3, 9-1 Big Ten) hosts Indiana at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Since Langford left the lineup, the Spartans have gone 7-1 in conference play and are tied for first place with Michigan. Their 13-game win streak ended on Sunday at Purdue, a game that Langford could have played a big role as Michigan State was struggling to find an offensive spark in the first half.
“He can put it on the floor and create for himself,” guard Cassius Winston said this week. “That’s huge, especially in a game like the last game. We could have used a Josh. He can catch it on the wing and it’s one-on-one, and now you gotta make a play.”
Since Langford has been out, junior Kyle Ahrens and freshman Aaron Henry have started. Ahrens started three games before a back injury knocked him out of the lineup. Henry has started the last five.
"Throughout the process, Josh has done everything asked of him, while maintaining an amazing attitude and doing whatever he could to help his teammates,” Izzo added. “His selfless attitude is the reason there were tears throughout the meeting room when we shared the news with his team. I've never felt worse for a player than I do for Josh, but he's a very religious kid who believes everything happens for a reason. He's constantly telling me to not worry about him but focus on the team. It's the reason I have so much respect and admiration for the way he's handled the injury.”
Ahrens’ health also has been an issue for Michigan State. He’s missed three games with the back problem, including Sunday’s loss at Purdue after aggravating the back injury diving for a ball in last week's victory at Iowa.
He was full-go at practice on Tuesday and is optimistic he’ll be back in the lineup against Indiana on Saturday.
“I feel a lot better,” Ahrens said. “There’s a little tightness. I’m just day to day with a little limitation and trying to work back and get my conditioning back and feel for the game back.
“If Coach needs me I’m gonna be there (on Saturday). Yeah, I want to (play).”