Injury-plagued Michigan State is so star-crossed these days even its cheerleaders aren't safe.
With just over five minutes remaining in the first half of the Spartans' 61-50 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday night, Gophers wing Austin Hollins missed a 3-pointer and the rebound deflected toward the baseline. Derrick Nix saved the ball to a teammate before it went out of bounds but the 6-foot-10, 270-pound center's momentum sent him sprawling, flattening two Michigan State cheerleaders in the process.
Amazingly enough, appears the cheerleaders survived the collision unscathed, but by the end of the night, a handful of Michigan State players weren't as fortunate.
Freshman guard Gary Harris' back flared up again. Sophomore forward Branden Dawson played despite an injured ankle. Junior center Adreian Payne's nose was bloodied but not broken. And point guard Keith Appling dislocated his right shoulder as he was trying to break free of Minnesota's Joe Coleman on a second-half inbound play, forcing him to leave the game.
After heading back to the locker room to have his shoulder popped back into place, Appling insisted to reporters after the game that he expects to play against Purdue this weekend and may not even miss any practice time.
So yes, Michigan State's players are tough. Just like the school's cheerleaders.
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