Tom Izzo of Michigan State basketball says Jaden Akins’ left foot has no significant problems. Tom Izzo and Jaden Akins both let out enormous sighs of relief. A surgically repaired left ankle was “tweaked” by the sophomore guard during Michigan State’s 73-71 victory over Villanova on Friday.
However, according to his head coach on Monday, X-rays were negative and it will depend on how Akins feels when he returns for the Spartans during this week’s three-game-in-four-days Phil Knight Invitational after speaking with the surgeon who performed the surgery in September.
During his weekly news conference, Izzo stated, “Of all the kids I think could manage it, he’s smart enough to handle it, he’s tough enough to handle it, and he’s athletic enough to do it.” And the only issue I’ve had is that I believe he wants to put everything back in.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound combo guard underwent surgery on his left foot on September 10 due to a stress reaction, but he recovered in time for the Spartans’ season-opening match against Northern Arizona on November 7. Akins made a leap on a defensive play and landed on his right foot first, then his left foot seemed to partially fold as it came down on the baseline. He sat the final 5:51 of his 21 minutes against the Wildcats.
With five rebounds, two assists, and four of seven field goal attempts, Akins finished with nine points. In the first four games, he has averaged 6.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, three steals, and four assists in 20.5 minutes while playing off the bench.
MSU (3-1) departs for Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday and plays No. 16 Alabama in the Phil Knight Invitational’s opening round on Thursday. It begins at 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN). Sunday marks the tournament’s conclusion after the Spartans play again on Friday against either Oregon or Connecticut.
Izzo claimed that after pulling through against Villanova, he gave his players Saturday off. Akins did not work out on Sunday and was not anticipated to participate in the session on Monday afternoon. Izzo said that he is still unsure whether Akins will participate in the game against the Crimson Tide (4-0) or sit out one or more contests.
Izzo stated, “We’re not anxious about the three games (in the PKI) over the 24 that are left if there’s any question mark.”