Michigan State's Keith Appling out because of wrist injury
Just when the Spartans were starting to get healthier, another player goes down.
The Spartans' Keith Appling originally hurt his wrist in the Dec. 4 loss to North Carolina.
Raj Mehta / USA TODAY Sports
By Dana Wakiji
EAST LANSING, MICH. -- The Michigan State Spartans managed to win without their starting point guard, but they hope they don't have to try to do so again.
Senior Keith Appling missed the first game of his college career Thursday because of an injury to his right wrist.
"He was crushed that he had to miss his first game," coach Tom Izzo said.
Travis Trice started in Appling's place, and MSU still defeated Penn State handily, 82-67.
Trice scored only four points, but had seven assists and zero turnovers.
"I know a lot of people were probably worried coming into this game when you don't have your point guard in there," Trice said. "I think we did a great job as a team just handling that."
Whether the Spartans will have to handle life without Appling at Wisconsin Sunday remains to be seen.
"I have no time frame," Izzo said. "I think they gave him something that is going to take a couple days."
Appling originally hurt his wrist in the Dec. 4 home loss to North Carolina.
"Keith Appling, before the North Carolina game, was leading the league in three-point field-goal percentage," Izzo said. "He was 56 (percent) overall, 53 (percent) from the three, and 80 something (percent) from the line.
"Then, a couple weeks after he was still in the high 40s and 76 percent from the line, but then I think he fell on it at Penn State, and it’s just been getting worse and worse."
Izzo said X-rays and an MRI confirmed there's no break in the wrist, but Appling's mobility is limited.
"I had talked to Keith the night before and it sounded like things were getting better," Izzo said. "Then the trainer calls and says that he can hardly move his wrist."
Izzo made no bones about the prospect of playing the Badgers without Appling, who's averaging 15 points, a team-leading 4.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game and his leadership is invaluable in tough situations.
"We need Keith," Izzo said. "He is probably our best defender. He is still our best athlete. He is having a monster year, considering with what he has been playing with the last month and a half especially."