Monday, January 25, 2021

After bout with COVID-19, Tom Izzo returns to practice

November 23, 2020
<p>College GameDay&#x27;s Jay Williams shakes hands with men&#x27;s basketball Head Coach Tom Izzo during ESPN&#x27;s College GameDay on Feb. 2, 2019, at the Breslin Center. Nic Antaya/The State News</p>

College GameDay's Jay Williams shakes hands with men's basketball Head Coach Tom Izzo during ESPN's College GameDay on Feb. 2, 2019, at the Breslin Center. Nic Antaya/The State News

Photo by Nic Antaya | The State News

Just in time for Michigan State men's basketball game Wednesday versus Eastern Michigan, Head Coach Tom Izzo returned to his office Monday.

The school announced on Monday afternoon that after testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 9, Izzo returned to practice over the weekend in person after 11 days of self-isolation.

"I want to thank the medical staff and doctors at Michigan State who helped me over the last two weeks since I tested positive,” Izzo said in a statement. “Our front-line workers during this time have been so essential, and I have a great appreciation for those people and what they have done to fight this disease during this time. While some people who have tested positive have not been affected too much by it, I am here to tell you that this virus is no joke and everyone must take this seriously."

During Izzo's absence, assistant coaches Dwayne Stephens and Dane Fife held practices in person.

“I want to thank Dwayne Stephens for leading our team over the last two weeks and to the entire coaching staff and our support staff for their hard work and dedication," Izzo said. "I’ve stayed in touch with my players as much as I could, but I am looking forward to seeing them in person today. I was really impressed with the hard work they have put in during this time. We are all looking forward to the start of the season.”

The long-tenured head coach announced he had contracted the disease publicly on Nov. 9 when he received a presumptive positive test result.

“Technology will allow me to stay connected with my staff and our players, and I’ll have plenty of time to watch film,” Izzo said at the time of the announcement. “I’ll listen to our outstanding medical staff, and follow their directions and take all the steps necessary to return as soon as possible.”

Junior forward Gabe Brown said that during Izzo's absence, it was strange not hearing the hall of famer yell constantly during practice.

"You can really tell the difference with him not yelling," Brown said during Izzo's absence. "You can really tell but then again, coach probably needed a little break. He's been going so hard. ... I don't think I've ever seen (Izzo) not be at practice."

The Spartans will also play Notre Dame at the Breslin Center on Saturday, Nov. 28.

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