Saturday, December 4, 2021

MSU to postpone game against Illinois, three additional positive COVID-19 cases

January 18, 2021

A third straight game for Michigan State men's basketball won't go on as scheduled.

MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo opened a press conference Monday morning sharing that the Spartans game against Illinois scheduled for Jan. 23 at the Breslin will be postponed.

“If you would have seen the disappointment in my player's eyes when I told them we had to postpone another game...it was a struggle,” Izzo said. “If I’m losing sleep over it, just think what some of those guys are doing because there’s a true love to play the game.”

The postponement comes after three additional positive COVID-19 tests were identified Sunday within the MSU program. Walk-on Davis Smith and two non-players yielded positive tests.

It’s familiar territory, as MSU postponed their matchups against Iowa and Indiana last week after Steven Izzo, Mady Sissoko and Joshua Langford tested positive. 

Izzo said the health state of his players in quarantine has fluctuated, also noting he delivered dinners to his players with COVID-19 Sunday night.

“They’re all doing decent,” Izzo said. “We’ve had a couple of them who have struggled more than others but it’s been tough.”

The Spartans did not practice last Thursday or Friday in an abundance of caution for the health and safety of the team, however, Izzo made it clear that this team will not undergo a shutdown.

“As of right now, there will be no shut down here, I can’t even call it a pause,” Izzo said. “We had to postpone a couple games for the safety and well being of not only our players but the players on the other team.”

Instead, the team is trying to conduct small group and individual workouts with the remaining healthy players. 

“As far as the next few games or days go, we will continue to daily test, we will continue to follow the advice of our medical personnel who have been outstanding since day one,” Izzo said. “As they allow, we will continue to do individual work and small group work tomorrow, the next day and the next day. We’re hoping that we can start practicing according to the protocol...we will only return to practice as a team when they tell us it is safe for our players and my staff.”

Izzo tested positive for COVID-19 in early November, and he said that he is the only member of his staff who has contracted and overcame the virus. Izzo said that he has signed up for the COVID-19 vaccine but has not received it yet.

In terms of his athletes, eight total have tested positive for the virus, some of those being identified back in August and September. With that being said, concern has risen on the state of immunity the team has as those cases date months back. 

The three games MSU has postponed will be looked at in the rescheduling process. 

“This virus determines the timeline of everything,” Izzo said. “I don’t determine it and really my doctors don’t determine it, the virus determines it.”

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