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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / March 18.
  • Michigan State’s Nick Ward expected to return for Big Ten tournament

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    By JACOB POLACHECK

    Michigan State junior big man Nick Ward is expected to return this week in the Big Ten tournament, after a near month long hiatus, head coach Tom Izzo said Monday.

    “I do expect Nick to play,” said Izzo. “How much? I don’t know. I’m 99 percent sure he’s going to play unless there’s a setback.”

    Ward has missed the last five games after undergoing surgery on a left hand injury. He has not played since Feb. 17.

    “He’s not gonna be in as good a shape, but he has been running and working out; it’s just different than playing,” Izzo said of Ward and how they plan to bring him back. “That will be interesting to see today. Then it’s how they pad [Ward’s hand] and how it works, and he’s had some opportunity to look at it.”

    Michigan State has managed to achieve a 4-1 record in Ward’s absence and won a share of the Big Ten regular season title this past weekend.

    Ward has averaged 15.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, which are both good for second on the team. In Ward’s absence, sophomore Xavier Tillman has stepped into the starting role, averaging 14.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in the last five games.

    Michigan State finished the regular season with a 25-6 record (16-4 Big Ten). The Spartans will play the winner of Indiana vs. Ohio State on Friday.

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