EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State’s high-scoring freshman guard, Gary Harris, has a left shoulder sprain and will miss two to three weeks. Harris was injured in the first minute of play Tuesday night against Boise State, and had an x-ray and MRI on Wednesday morning.
Harris was leading the team with a 16.0 scoring average going into that game, and had just been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
“It’s a shame,” said Spartans coach Tom Izzo. “Gary was playing so well, and then he goes down with a freak injury. We need to get him back as soon as his injury allows, but he is one of our toughest players. I know he’ll work as hard as he can on the rehab, so that he can get back on the court.”
He would miss five to seven games by that estimation by the MSU medical staff, but should return in time for games with Bowling Green and Texas before the Dec. 31 Big Ten opener at Minnesota.
Boise State forward Ryan Watkins nailed Harris and was called for a foul 30 seconds into the game.
“I’m not saying it was a flagrant call,” Izzo said of the Watkins foul. “We have this thing where if arms go up, that means it’s flagrant. He got hit pretty good on a moving screen and knocked his shoulder out.”
With top reserve guard Travis Trice out with concussion-like symptoms the Spartans leaned on freshman Denzel Valentine (12 points, four rebounds and two steals), Brandan Kearney (seven points) and Russell Byrd (four points, two assists).
“We’ll find out who wants to play,” Izzo said.
Valentine said he was “tripped out” at first by having his roommate, Harris, go out.
“Yeah, it put me in a spin,” Valentine said. “I was looking for that emotional support. I’m going to have to step it up.”
State hosts Oakland at 8:15 p.m. Friday night (Big Ten Network), and the Golden Grizzlies have Valentine’s older brother, Drew, a forward averaging 11.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
“I don’t really know how it will feel until I see him,” said Denzel Valentine. “I’m sure we’ll tell each other good luck. We used to play one-on-one all the time, and my dad would pull us off each other. We went at it so hard. We made each other better.”
Their father, Carlton, coached them at Lansing Sexton High. Denzel led the Big Reds to consecutive state Class B championships before moving just down the road to MSU.