Nick Ward hospitalized with the flu after U-M, should play against Nebraska
Recording just two rebounds of his usual six per game, freshman forward Nick Ward was sick with the flu against the University of Michigan, head coach Tom Izzo said during his weekly press conference.
Ward played 16 minutes in a 70-62 win against U-M. On the season, Ward logs just more than 19 minutes per game. After the game, Izzo said Ward went to the hospital for further treatment.
Against the Wolverines, MSU men’s basketball was out-rebounded 33-32. Ward’s illness, along with poor guard rebounding, allowed for 14 offensive rebounds for U-M.
Izzo said Ward will mostly likely play against Nebraska. In the days heading up to the game, Izzo said Ward will do what he can, at least be present for film sessions and watching practices.
Freshman forward Miles Bridges secured 13 rebounds against U-M, all of Ward’s rebounds were on the offensive glass. The last defensive rebound for Ward came two games ago against Indiana, when he had one defensive rebound and five offensive rebounds.
“I am hoping and thinking that it is the 24-hour bug,” Izzo said. “We are going to be smart about what we are going to do. He definitely had an upper respiratory and he has got the flu, so those two things, we are not going to stress him out today for sure.”
In the Spartans’ next matchup, Ward might have to deal with sophomore forward Ed Morrow, Nebraska's leading rebounder at 7.9 per game. Morrow has missed the last five games for the Cornhuskers. Against Gardner-Webb, he grabbed his season high of 18 rebounds.
“He (Morrow) is an athlete and is strong and that, but he doesn't rely on his skill part, 3-point shooting and all of those things,” Izzo said. “When I always talk about an injury to a receiver or a quarterback is different than a down lineman. That is kind of what he is. He is an in-the-trench guy. The lack of that time won't affect him as much as it would a 3-point shooter for example. He is a tough, hard-nosed kid that rebounds the daylights out of the ball.”
MSU men's basketball will tipoff against Nebraska on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.