Michigan State's Rocket Watts, Foster Loyer ailing, but expected to play vs. Purdue
Rocket Watts continues to test negative for COVID-19, but the sophomore guard’s status for Michigan State’s game at Purdue on Tuesday is far from certain.
In fact, the same goes for junior guard Foster Loyer as the Spartans prepare for a 7 p.m. tip at Mackey Arena on Tuesday, just three days after suffering a 30-point loss at home to Iowa.
In that game, Watts did not come out of the locker room for the second half after feeling ill. He was placed in isolation, but multiple COVID tests since then have remained negative, coach Tom Izzo said on Monday.
“He’s got the flu, I guess, so he hasn't practiced at all,” Izzo said of Watts. “Whether he'll practice (Monday), I don't know but he is available for the game, which is good news.”
Junior Thomas Kithier had a similar experience during Michigan State’s victory at home over Nebraska on Feb. 6. He felt ill during the first half and was quickly placed in isolation, but was back at practice by the following Monday when multiple antigen and PCR tests came back negative. He played Tuesday against Penn State and again on Saturday against Iowa.
Loyer has been bothered by a left shoulder injury that was aggravated in Tuesday’s victory over Penn State.
“I don't know if it popped out, but he damaged it at Nebraska a couple of weeks ago and then he really hurt it against Penn State,” Izzo said. “He didn’t practice either, but is questionable for the game.
“Other than that, we've got our players, we’ve got our coaches and we're going to go play the game.”
Loyer hasn’t missed any time but was 0-for-4 shooting against Iowa on Saturday and was just 1-for-13 in the previous three games. Watts, meanwhile, also has struggled. He was 1-for-5 in the first half against the Hawkeyes, but hasn’t scored in double figures since Jan. 5 against Rutgers.
“I do think they'll both be able to play,” Izzo said. “How much or what, I don't know that.”