Schilling returns to practice for MSU basketball, could play Saturday
MSU junior forward Gavin Schilling made a significant return to practice Thursday for the first time since going down with a torn ligament in his right big toe during MSU's exhibition game against Ferris State on Nov. 9.
The injury kept Schilling out of the action in MSU's first 11 regular season games -- a stretch in which MSU went 11-0 and ascended to the No. 1 ranking in the country.
After seeing him practice Thursday, MSU head basketball coach Tom Izzo said there's a chance Schilling could see some minutes Saturday against Northeastern.
"This was his first 3/4 practice," Izzo said. "He didn't look bad to me. Now it will be about getting the rust off. Will he play? I'd say he's got a 40/60 chance to play in some minutes in this game but very encouraging that at least he's out there."
Izzo stressed throughout Schilling's entire injury that he wasn't going to rush him back, for fear the injury could linger.
And as for that 40 percent chance Schilling plays on Saturday, Izzo said it all depends on how the toe feels in the next few days, but a return to action should be coming soon.
Schilling, however, is more optimistic than Izzo.
"Things are going good," Schilling said. "My toe is taped up. I have insoles in my shoe and it feels good. If everything goes well (Friday), I should be getting some time on Saturday."
Schilling's return comes at a an opportune time for the Spartans, as they're less than two weeks away from opening up Big Ten play on the road against Iowa on Dec. 29.
"It's big because he provides toughness ... offensive rebounding, a big physical, tough body inside," MSU senior guard Denzel Valentine said. "And he's only going to make us better. He can't hurt us and I'm glad to have him back."
For Schilling, he said he's happy to be back, especially after watching from the sidelines as his team got off to such a hot start.
"I enjoyed it but I really missed being part of it," Schilling said. "I wished I could have been a part of it but now I'm happy to be back with my brothers, back on the court playing."