East Lansing – Nick Ward played just 16 minutes in Michigan State’s victory over Michigan on Sunday, and afterward coach Tom Izzo said his freshman big man didn’t look as good as he has the past few weeks.
On Tuesday, Izzo said he found out later Sunday evening that Ward was suffering from the flu and even spent some time in urgent care.
Izzo was hoping Ward would be able to go through at least a limited amount of practice on Tuesday afternoon and expected him to be able to play on Thursday when Michigan State (13-9, 5-4 Big Ten) travels to Nebraska, which is coming off an upset of Purdue on Sunday.
“I’m hoping and think it’s a 24-hour bug,” Izzo said. “It’s nothing where I think this is a lingering week-long thing or a missing the game thing. But missing a couple of practices for him right now is critical. So we’ll see how he does today and I’m hoping at least he can shoot free throws and walk through their stuff and be able to watch.
“We’re gonna be smart about what we do. He’s definitely had an upper respiratory and he’s got the flu, so those things we’re not gonna stress him out today for sure.”
Ward was productive in his limited time on Sunday, scoring 13 points and making all six of his shots. The Spartans will need him considering Izzo also said Tuesday that senior Gavin Schilling is done for the season.
Schilling intends to return next season for a fifth year and Izzo said he will be welcomed with open arms. For this season, however, the Spartans’ roster won’t be changing.
“What we've got is what we're gonna play with and what we've got is good enough,” Izzo said. “We just got to get them better.”