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MSU's Gavin Schilling needs knee surgery

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Gavin Schilling

East Lansing — There’s more bad news for Michigan State on the injury front, and this one certainly will alter the starting lineup and the frontcourt rotation.

Spartans officials announced Wednesday senior Gavin Schilling suffered a non-contact knee injury during practice last Friday, and after evaluating it decided the best course of action is surgery.

“This is certainly an unfortunate setback for Gavin, as he had been practicing very well,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. “He had an incredible summer and was in excellent shape as he was ready to make his senior season his best one yet.”

The injury to Schilling comes a couple weeks after graduate transfer forward Ben Carter suffered a knee injury that required surgery. A timetable on Schilling’s return has not been determined.

Schilling (6-foot-9, 240 pounds) was expected to be the starting center last season before a toe injury in an exhibition forced him to miss the first 11 games. He returned to play in 24 games and start four, averaging 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds.

With an inexperienced frontcourt following the early departure to the NBA of Deyonta Davis, Schilling was going to be a key part of Michigan State’s rotation.

The loss of Schilling and Carter likely will mean bigger roles for freshman Nick Ward and sophomore Kenny Goins, who is working his way back from offseason knee surgery. The only other forwards on the roster are former walk-on Matt Van Dyk and freshman Miles Bridges.

Ward (6-8, 250), a freshman from Gahanna, Ohio, was part of Michigan State’s highly touted recruiting class and ranked No. 39 overall in the nation by ESPN.com.

His role was expected to jump with Carter out, but it becomes even more critical now.

“Nick Ward’s going to play more than we thought he would play when we recruited him,” Izzo said last week. “Part of that is because of the loss of Carter and part of it is because Nick’s played awfully well.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

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MSU sixth, UM 37th in Vitale’s preseason Top 40