By Jeff Ghiringhelli
Michigan State basketball fans can all take a collective sigh of relief. When Kalin Lucas had to be helped off the court during the second half of Tuesday’s loss at Wisconsin, Spartan fans saw the season flash in front of their eyes.
Lucas underwent further tests on the ankle after the team returned to East Lansing. X-rays came back negative and revealed nothing more than a sprained ankle. There is not much else that can be done at this point, as team doctors need to see how the ankle begins to heal in the next couple of days.
It looked really bad initially. Lucas immediately clutched his ankle and rolled around on the court for a few minutes after landing on Badger forward Keaton Nankivil’s foot. He was not putting any pressure on the ankle while being carried off the court, which is never a good sign.
The school also says that Lucas’ status for Saturday’s game at Illinois is unknown at this point, and no real answer can be given until at least Thursday. Obviously the Spartans would love to have him back. He is the clear leader of the team, as displayed by MSU’s ineptitude on offense after he left.
Saturday’s game just happens to be a pretty important one too. A loss would bring Michigan State to 9-2 in Big Ten play, which would really open up a conference race that had been dominated by the Spartans. Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Illinois are all 7-3, and Purdue is 6-3. An Illini win would bring them to just one game out of first place.
Korie Lucious will be expected to shoulder the load at point guard should Lucas not play. Lucious is a capable shooter and passer, but he also makes a lot of mistakes and is not used to being the feature point guard. Needless to say the whole team, not just Lucious, needs to step it up if Lucas does not play.
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