Lucas sidelined for 4-6 months
DETROIT -- Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is relieved his banged-up team has four days off before its next game in the NCAA tournament.
Not that it will help Kalin Lucas.
An MRI confirmed the junior guard ruptured the Achilles tendon in his left foot during the first half of Sunday's NCAA tournament game against Maryland.
The recovery time is expected to be 4-6 months.
"We feel terrible for Kalin, he was having a great NCAA tournament," Izzo said in a statement. "The good news is there is no doubt he will make a full and complete recovery. He's a tough kid and he'll do everything necessary to return to his elite level."
Lucas' replacement, Korie Lucious, beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer that lifted the fifth-seeded Spartans to an 85-83 win over fourth-seeded Maryland on Sunday.
"I appreciate all the support I've received from everyone, but especially my teammates," Lucas said in a statement. "At halftime against Maryland, they told me they had my back. And I told them I had theirs."
Defining Loss Of Lucas
Michigan State will have a big void to fill without Kalin Lucas against Northern Iowa. The guard is a big part of everything the Spartans do.
Lucas will travel with the team to St. Louis, where MSU will play Northern Iowa on Friday night.
Michigan State has advanced to the round of 16 for the ninth time in 13 seasons, a string of consistency topped in the NCAA tournament only by Duke, and is two wins away from a nation-high sixth Final Four appearance since 1999.
The Spartans will play ninth-seeded Northern Iowa in the Midwest Regional semifinals, facing the team that knocked top-seeded Kansas out of their path.
"We can't look at whoever lost," Durrell Summers said after scoring 26 points to send the Spartans home happy from Spokane, Wash. "We got to advance and prepare for Northern Iowa."
Izzo hopes his team lost only Lucas.
Chris Allen was limited to just 4 minutes against the Terrapins because of an injury to the arch in his right foot, Delvon Roe hobbled on his surgically repaired right knee against them and Raymar Morgan played with a broken tooth.
Achilles Tendon Injury: An Explainer
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the bone in the heel and is the most commonly torn tendon in the body. The tendon is usually torn when the leg is straight and the calf muscle contracts. It typically takes several months for athletes to fully recover.
Tearing the Achilles tendon can happen without major incident, particularly in athletes whose bodies are under the continual stress of training. People who tear their Achilles tendon have major swelling and are unable to put weight on their ankle or foot.
Certain medications increase the risk of tearing the Achilles tendon, such as antibiotics or medicines to reduce inflammation like corticosteroids.
Doctors typically fix torn Achilles tendons with surgery. After the operation, patients are outfitted with a cast or brace to help the tendon heal, for about six to eight weeks.
-- The Associated Press
"We've got a 'MASH' unit," Izzo said. "The bottom of Chris' foot is purple, Delvon is playing on one leg and Raymar looks like a hockey player with his tooth cut in half. We think we can get Chris back -- after showing toughness we've never seen from him -- and we'll hold Delvon out of practice to let him rest as much as we can."
Lucas was hurt late in the first half, landing awkwardly after a shot, and did not return.
He is a two-time All-Big Ten player and 2009 conference player of the year. He also leads the team in scoring -- averaging nearly 15 points -- assists and playing time.
The injured players are the same ones that drew Izzo's tough love this past season: The coach kicked Lucas out of a practice, suspended Allen during the Big Ten tournament and Lucious from a game at Penn State.
Now the Spartans will face the Panthers missing their star in Lucas and perhaps Allen.
"We're going to need everybody we have in uniform to step up," Izzo said. "There were times we had two walk-ons, a freshman and a sophomore on the court Sunday and that probably won't be the last time in the tournament. Northern Iowa is good, but thank God they're not a team that presses like Maryland."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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