East Lansing — Before Sunday, Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn had never missed a game at Michigan State.
The 5-foot-10 point guard played in all 39 games last season and before heading to Wisconsin over the weekend, the sophomore had started all 18 games for the Spartans.
But a case of plantar fasciitis in his right foot finally became too much to handle. Something that bothered him some last season then got worse over the summer finally forced Nairn to the bench.
“It got to the point where it was kind of unbearable to play with,” Nairn said after practice on Monday. “I played with it last year and all this year and it just got to a point where coach decided to shut me down and I agree with it.”
Nairn received a shot on Saturday, the second one he’s taken in the foot, and said it felt better but he still had pain.
On Sunday, coach Tom Izzo said he was unsure how long Nairn would be out, saying it could be a week or it could be for the rest of the season. Nairn, who acknowledged the injury was starting to hurt him mentally, wasn’t making any predictions on Monday as he sat with his foot in a boot, but the idea of missing the rest of the year isn’t in his plans.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time,” Nairn said. “It will not be the rest of the season. I’m just going one day at a time and go in and get treatment and do whatever they tell me to do.”
The loss of Nairn doesn’t look like a big loss on the surface because he doesn’t score as much as some other players, but losing a starting point guard is difficult, especially considering how effective Nairn is defending and pushing the ball on the fast break.
And through 18 games, Nairn was seventh in the nation with a 4.76 assist-to-turnover ratio.
“The guy does a lot for us,” Izzo said. “He’s one of those guys that the players appreciate and so that was a big loss for us. We think we could have ran them. Unlike other Wisconsin teams they go to the boards a little bit more which means they’re susceptible to the break. We got a couple right down the middle, we got a couple right in the corners. But it’s no question we’re not as good running without Tum.”
The rosters for the 39th annual McDonald's All-American game were unveiled Sunday night and Michigan State had two signees that will play in the game.
Miles Bridges and Joshua Langford, who have both signed for the 2016 class, will play in the game on opposite teams. Bridges, a Flint native who plays at Huntington (W. Va.) Prep, is on the East team while Langford of Huntsville, Ala., is on the West squad.
Langford is joined on the West team by Detroit native Josh Jackson, the No. 1 ranked player in the nation according to Rivals and 247 Sports. Jackson, who plays at Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif., is being recruited by Michigan State and he has the Spartans high on his list.
This is the third time Izzo has had two McDonald’s All-Americans in one class, joining Shannon Brown and Brandon Cotton in 2003 and Zach Randolph and Marcus Taylor in 2000. Last season, Deyonta Davis and Caleb Swanigan played in the game, but a few weeks later, Swanigan decommitted from Michigan State.
After three weeks of conference play, taking a look at possible NCAA Tournament breakdowns is becoming more interesting.
At ESPN.com, Joe Lunardi has Michigan State as a No. 3 seed in the Midwest, opening first-round play in St. Louis against Belmont. Over at CBSsports.com, Jerry Palm kept the Spartans as a No. 2 seed.
Palm has MSU as the two-seed in the West, opening play against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in St. Louis.