Appling "playing it by hand"

Senior point guard working back from injury, doesn't regret playing through it for a couple months.

Keith Appling hurt his wrist for the first time against North Carolina on Dec. 4, but it took until Feb. 6 for the Michigan State senior to miss game time.

He took part in 14 games in that timeframe, not using his injured right wrist as an excuse – or injuries as an excuse for the team as a whole.

Playing through pain and being tough is just part of Appling, but he also said those traits might have contributed to his current status: Missing games and practices.

"I don't know, maybe," he said. "I just only know one way. Whenever you feel a little pain, you've gotta fight through it. That's just how I was brought up, so that's all I know.

"Maybe I let it linger for too long and let it get to where it is. Right now, I can't do nothing about it but rehab and hope that it gets better."

The Spartans' point guard has sat out the past two games after he said his wrist got worse after getting up extra shots on an off day.

Michigan State is 1-1 without the senior point guard, but when he will return is up in the air still. Coach Tom Izzo said Appling is day to day and the senior said he doesn't know when that is going to be.

"We are just playing it by hand," he said. "Whenever I'm ready, I'm just going to get back out there. We are doing as much rehab and treatment as we can to get better."

Appling rattled off the treatments he has undergone ranging from massage to ultrasound. He said it definitely is helping make progress, but he has to continue to get rest and work on rehab.

Having not missed a game since his junior year at Detroit Pershing, being on the bench has not been easy on Appling.

"It's tough, especially seeing my teammates battle for 40 minutes and not being able to help them," he said. "It's tough and it's hard for me to go through right now, but at the same time, I've still gotta be mentally tough and fight through what I'm going through."

Izzo said he has respect for how Appling has handled this injury and missing time.

"He's played a little hurt," Izzo said, "(but) where it got bad enough where he couldn't do the things he wanted to do or he thought it was really affecting him, he made that known.

"Even now if you see him on the bench he looks dead. I mean he's bummed out."

But just like Appling's fellow senior Adreian Payne (Payne back with more knowledge), he said he can learn from watching the game from the bench.

"Just as far as simple things, slowing yourself down," he said. "Coach talks about it all the time, how we never wait for ball screens. I can see it a lot better than I would if I was out there playing.

"That's just one of the small things that's going to be able to help me when I get back."


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