Michigan State starts Big Ten play this week. But it looks like Miles Bridges’ conference debut will stay on hold.
The talented Spartans freshman is “doubtful” to return this week, coach Tom Izzo told reporters on a Monday morning conference call. However, Izzo said it was “possible” Bridges could return from a sprained ankle in one of Michigan State’s two games before the calendar flips to 2017.
Izzo says it's "doubtful to possible" that Miles Bridges plays this week vs. Minn or Northwestern. Bridges due for MRI scan today.
— Kevin Goheen (@CincyGoGo) December 26, 2016
“When I say doubtful, I lean way on the doubtful side only because whenever he’s ready, I’m gonna add on another few days just for myself,” Izzo said. “So, I don’t see that happening for sure tomorrow (at Minnesota). Very, very, very, very, very doubtful. And this weekend, some of it will depend on what they (medical staff) say today. Is it continuously improving? Not only any swelling or anything, but also how it feels for him?
“That’s going to be the bottom line now because, unlike a broken bone that just heals and you can see it, this kind of injury it’s more on his feel. He has been feeling well. We’re just a little ginger on how to push forward. We’re going to err on the side of safety a little bit more than normal so it’s not a lingering effect.”
Bridges missed the final five games of the Spartans’ non-conference schedule, and he has not played since a game at Duke on Nov. 29. Michigan State (8-5) starts Big Ten play at Minnesota on Friday night and then faces Northwestern on Friday this week.
In eight games, Bridges – a 6-foot-7 wing – is averaging 16.6 points and 8.8 rebounds.
Izzo also said that junior point guard Tum Tum Nairn, Jr., has been wearing a protective boot on his left foot after having experienced stiffness in the foot last week. Nairn was photographed wearing the boot at last Friday’s NBA game between Detroit and Golden State when he accompanied Izzo to the Palace of Auburn Hills to see former Michigan State player Draymond Green, now with the Warriors.
“It was totally precautionary,” Izzo said. “He’s practiced every practice and just wears the boot around a little bit more when he’s walking or spending time.”
Nairn missed seven games last season with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and had surgery after the season to correct the issue. He played a season-low 11 minutes in last Wednesday’s 77-65 win against Oakland, in part because of the foot stiffness. Freshman Cassius Winston has played a combined 63 minutes the last two games. Winston leads the Big Ten by averaging 6.0 assists per game. He has a 52-to-14 assist-to-turnover ratio in the last six games.