Gary Harris’ shoulders are the immediate story of MSU’s remaining season

IOWA CITY, Iowa — I don’t know the extent of Gary Harris’ shoulder injuries, especially the left shoulder which popped out again during the first half of Thursday night’s game at Iowa.

But I’ve covered enough college basketball players who’ve suffered dislocated shoulders to know this: If it keeps happening (and if this was a dislocation or partial dislocation), it usually eventually requires surgery. And, every time it pops out of its socket, it’s more susceptible to happening again.

Harris said afterward that it was no big deal and that the only ramification was that he’d probably have to wear the brace from now on.

But I get the sense that if Harris lost his foot in the game, he’d say he really only needed one foot anyway.

This is the pressing issue of MSU’s season now — before it can move forward with anything else. Because, with Harris, the Spartans have a chance to have a ceiling that includes games deep into March. Without him, they don’t. It’s that simple.

Coach Tom Izzo knows it. When asked Thursday night about the ramifications of Harris’ shoulder problems as it pertains to the rest of the season, Izzo quickly moved on — perhaps not wanting to picture a Harris-less future — only saying, “No idea, no idea.”

Injuries like this, from what I know, need a couple of months to strengthen without trauma to the shoulder. What happened Thursday to Harris would qualify as trauma.

If I were Izzo and Co. — and the injury is as it seems — I’d consider shutting Harris down for at least a week, until after next Wednesday’s date at Penn State. As brutal as the Big Ten is, its bottom two teams (Penn State and Nebraska) are really bad, and those are MSU’s next two opponents, perhaps the only two close to certain victories, even without Harris.

If Harris’ shoulder keeps popping out of place, he won’t finish the season. And MSU’s season will end earlier than it hopes.

He is an essential piece of any lofty goals the Spartans have — a Big Ten title or the NCAA tournament’s second or third weekend.

Harris is among MSU’s best players right now, maybe its best offensively, even at less than 100 percent.

But, no matter what Harris says, you need shoulders to shoot a basketball.

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8 Responses to Gary Harris’ shoulders are the immediate story of MSU’s remaining season

  1. Pingback: Spartans survive in Iowa, MSU hockey hoping for turnaround | Spartan Shadows

  2. avatar Owosso Evan says:

    “If I were being offered a football scholarship by Notre Dame, Iā€™d go.” What does that mean? Was that actually left in from another post about Brian Kelly that hasn’t been published yet? It doesn’t seem like it belongs.

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      When I read your comment, I had no idea what you were talking about. Then I read the blog again. I honestly have no idea where that came from. I haven’t written that line about Brian Kelly anywhere, I don’t believe. It’s gone now. Maybe it was on SportsCenter in the hotel and, it being late and I a bit tired, it subliminally landed in my head. I would be utterly confused if I read that. Glad you spoke up.

  3. avatar DC Spartan says:

    With that schedule I would too, but can Izzo afford another hit to his depth at a guard position?

    If it were me I’d rather optimize my odds of having Harris later this season than let him play against the cellar.

  4. avatar MSUDersh says:

    I agree that Harris should take the next two games off. If he does, that’s over a week of rest, as the following game isn’t until next Saturday vs. Ohio State.

    I say, sit him, start Denzel at the 2 & Byrd at the 3, or Denzel 2, Dawson 3,and Gauna 4. That would also help to #FreeCostello.

    If nothing else it will also force the issue on either Byrd or Gauna to step up.

    • avatar GreenGuy says:

      Can a starting lineup of Payne @ C, Dawson @ SF, Gauna @ PF, Appling @ PG and Valentine @ SG handle Nebraska and PSU? Probably…with Trice providing minutes at both PG and SG and Byrd playing 4 minutes/half at SF to spell Dawson. With no Harris, MSU will have to take every shot from within 12 ft. – and they don’t have the bodies to run. So – half court sets pounding the ball inside to Payne and Nix would seem to be the only option.

      Gotta admire the gut check in Iowa City, but this team is full of brick-layers from the arc and the FT line. Wins against Nebraska and PSU with scores in the high 50′s would be welcome.

      Hope Izzo is looking for some consistent outside shooting with his available scholarships – oops, that is what Byrd was supposed to provide. Oh well, maybe “Brick House” could be the new nickname for Breslin.

  5. avatar 79 Spartan says:

    I was thinking the same thing regarding sitting Harris for the next two… however Graham, I knew guys with shoulder issues and they can either be a nagging problem or a real issue that needs surgery – not ALL shoulder issues require surgery, though when he gets into his 40s or 50s he most surely will. If it is a muscle issue at this point, then the strengthening/conditioning aspect may get him through this season and he can work out over the summer and maybe even put the problem behind him for his college time.


    Our guys need to come out against UNL and PSU with respect for the game and the opponent and focused with a purpose, because sloppy, disrespectful play could bite them in the keister.

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