Draymond Green (US Presswire)
Green couldn't put any weight on the leg, so the senior forward hopped on his right foot from the bench to Michigan State's huddle before the Spartans' final two possessions in hopes of providing some inspiration to his teammates.
Stories like that illustrate why it's such great news that the knee injury Green suffered won't keep him out of action long.
An MRI taken Wednesday revealed no torn ligaments and Michigan State has categorized the injury as just a knee sprain. He's considered "day-to-day" and could return as soon as Sunday when Michigan State hosts Michigan.
Even if Green misses a game or two, the news is much better than it could have been.
There was no contact that caused Green's injury, but he immediately clutched his knee and fell to the floor after apparently taking an awkward step while defending Illinois forward Myke Henry off the ball. Green chose not to speak to the media after the game and Tom Izzo told reporters in his postgame press conference that he had "no idea" what the injury was or how serious it was.
A prolonged absence for Green would have been devastating for a Michigan State team that has the look of a Final Four contender after surging into the top 10 following season-opening losses to Duke and North Carolina. Green is one of the nation's most versatile forwards, scoring 14.9 points per game, grabbing 10.3 rebounds and dishing out 3.5 assists.
Even before his second-half injury on Tuesday, Green wasn't having one of his better days in Champaign.
The senior was "sick as a dog" with the flu before the game and he played like it, scoring just five points on 1-for-6 shooting and logging just 16 minutes because of foul trouble. Green also got into a rare heated exchange with Izzo after picking up his third first-half foul on a charging call.
All that will quickly be forgiven, however, after the injury scare. All Michigan State cares about is that it will have its best player on the floor as the team enters the home stretch of the Big Ten season.
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