It’s been established Gary Harris sprained his left shoulder in a November game against Boise State. However, head coach Tom Izzo revealed at his press conference Monday the freshman guard has been dealing with an additional shoulder injury.
After alluding to it following the No. 22 Spartans’ (12-3 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) victory over Purdue on Saturday, Izzo confirmed Harris’ right shoulder briefly popped out in a practice before the team played Texas on Dec. 22.
In his first season, Harris averages 13.1 points per contest with a 49 percent field goal percentage, including scoring 12 points against Minnesota and a career-high 22 points in the win over the Boilermakers.
“There are things you can say and you can’t say in this job because you don’t want to give things away, but I sit there and watch that kid the other day and I am amazed how far he has come considering the injuries that he has had,” Izzo said. “I go to (sophomore guard Branden) Dawson that way too and even (sophomore guard Travis) Trice, but Gary’s, you definitely saw some of the shooting fall off, but now in the last couple days, I think he has been much better.”
Harris is second on the team in scoring, which is somewhat skewed because of playing just a single minute before injuring his left shoulder in the win against Boise State.
Since Harris has been nursing his first shoulder injury, he hasn’t participated in the team’s rebounding drills in practice. That being the case, Izzo said Harris isn’t quite where he would like him to be, especially in the rebounding department.
“I have been trying to get him to wear a brace on the left side at least in practice,” he said. “It is a catch-22; he doesn’t like it. … The other point that doctors bring up is that if you are wearing it, it isn’t really getting stronger, it’s getting aided.”
No punishment for Dawson
As many expected, the weekend’s game against Purdue was a brawl, not uncommon of two teams in Big Ten play. But for Dawson that connotation was felt in a more literal sense.
After a second half 3-pointer by Harris, it appeared Dawson, who was camped out under the basket, threw a punch at Purdue forward Travis Carroll. The video released by Big Ten Network was somewhat inconclusive, the debate ensued whether Dawson made contact with Carroll, and moreover, if he would be suspended.
Izzo said it’s his understanding the play has been reviewed by the Big Ten and he didn’t expect any punishment to be handed down.
“I see Dawson do some of that stuff all the time in practice and I’m not condoning or condemning but you sure couldn’t tell what it was and you didn’t see any guy buckle over,” he said. “I think they did review it. In that game, there was a lot of things you could have reviewed.”
Dawson is third on the team in scoring with 9.9 points and averages 6.3 rebounds per game, while heavily contributing to the scoring attack in the paint for the Spartans.
The team returns to the floor Thursday in Iowa City, Iowa, against the Hawkeyes (7 p.m., ESPN2).