Michigan State started its game Friday against Mount St Mary's without four starters, but three were temporarily benched while one was sitting out the whole game.
Sophomore standout Gary Harris was decked out in black warmups and was never going to play in the Spartans' 98-65 win.
Coach Tom Izzo said Harris was held out to provide rest to an ankle injury suffered before the season.
"I made that choice and it seemed like the right thing to do and he wanted to play," Izzo said. "He's fine, it's just that his ankle has plateaued a little bit and just doesn't feel as comfortable.
"Not many times do you get a six, eight, ten day rest so we've had this period from last Saturday to this Wednesday with one game and I thought if I could keep him out of the game and get that thing 100 percent."
Izzo said he could see some differences in Harris' game lately as the Spartans went through a six-game stretch in 16 days.
"I didn't feel he was getting as much lift and he wasn't shooting as good a percentage," Izzo said. "That's where I started telling him. And he says he's fine. But then he realized maybe he's not getting quite the explosion off of it and so I just said, if we just take a few days, let it simmer down. Every time you practice, if it's not 100 percent, it's going to make it a little worse instead of a little better."
Senior guard Keith Appling said he has noticed a little difference in Harris lately, too.
"Gary's one of our more efficient lane runners, one of our better defenders," Appling said. "When he stops doing those things as well as he was, something has to be wrong. I kinda noticed it a little bit.
He's a tough kid so he tried to play through it but at some point you gotta sit out and get some rest."
Izzo said he might rest Harris the next day or two, but expects him to start when MSU hosts North Carolina at 9 p.m. Wednesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.