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Sport Michigan State's Tom Izzo says Joshua Langford out till January: 'It breaks my heart'

21:41  22 october  2019
21:41  22 october  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Michigan State senior guard Joshua Langford was optimistic as October dawned and the 2019-20 NCAA basketball season beckoned.

a basketball player in front of a crowd© Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

“I feel great. I’m just taking it one day at a time,” he told Sporting News at Big Ten Media Day. “I’m not trying to force anything, but also not trying to be too reserved. Of course it’s going to be adjustments because I haven’t been playing the game of basketball — I haven’t been really even walking, at one point was on that scooter — but for the most part everything is going well.”

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Then came Tuesday’s news, which is that everything is not going well. The day after the Spartans were voted the No. 1 team in the preseason Associated Press poll, making it unanimous among major outlets — including Sporting News — coach Tom Izzo announced at a news conference that the foot issue that ended Langford’s 2018-19 season had recurred. He is not expected to return to basketball action until January.

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Langford had been averaging 15 points and 40 percent 3-point shooting through 13 games and was considered by Izzo to be one of the team’s top perimeter defenders. But the foot injury kept him from being an active part of the team's Big Ten regular-season and tournament championships and Final Four berth.

Langford did not participate in a private scrimmage the Spartans conducted with Gonzaga. Without him, Gonzaga will have to lean more heavily on promising sophomore Gabe Brown, senior reserve Kyle Ahrens, who has a sprained ankle and will be out for a week, and top freshman Rocket Watts.

Michigan State is appealing the rejection of a transfer waiver for forward Joey Hauser, who transferred from Marquette after his freshman season. Izzo said he expects a final answer soon. Hauser is a 6-9, 220-pound forward who averaged 9.7 points and shot 42.5 percent on 3s. Although he would provide another dimension to the MSU frontcourt, it’s unlikely he would directly fill Langford’s absence.

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The Spartans open the season Nov. 5 against Sporting News No. 2 Kentucky in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden. Nine days later, they have a road game against Big East contender Seton Hall. The Spartans also play in the Maui Invitational along with Kansas, Dayton, Georgia and UCLA, and will face No. 5 Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Michigan State has Big Ten games against Rutgers and Northwestern, as well, before the Christmas holidays.

Langford, a 6-5 shooting guard from Huntsville, Ala., was going through routine tests to check his progress when the medical team noticed a problem in an MRI in the foot where the surgery occurred. Izzo said he isn’t sure the exact nature of the problem, but that Michigan State will be cautious regarding Langford’s return.

Izzo expressed more concern about the difficulty Langford will face having to miss even more time than what it will mean for the Spartans.

“It breaks my heart. I love Josh Langford,” Izzo said at the news conference. “He’s one of those guys who has given me everything, almost like nobody I’ve had."

Couch: Getting 'exposed' at the Champions Classic is part of MSU's Final Four process .
Tom Izzo hates losing in the Champions Classic, but history shows it has little bearing on the season ahead, March especiallyHe’ll have a better perspective about Michigan State’s 69-62 loss to Kentucky once he’s out of Madison Square Garden and working on the next thing.

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