Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo announced to the media Tuesday that senior guard Joshua Langford would be out indefinitely due to a foot injury.
Langford suffered an ankle injury in December 2018 that kept him out of the remainder of the season. This year, Langford was expected to make a full return and play a key role on a team that has national championship aspirations. For now, at least, Langford’s part in all of that will be put on hold.
Izzo said the senior guard would be reevaluated in January, according to the Detroit Free Press’ Chris Solari.
The hall of fame head coach held a somber tone as he made the announcement. Izzo said he found out along with Langford Monday night.
“I had the hardest part of my job. I had to sit down with Josh Langford and doctors and find out that he has resurfaced the problem in his foot and he will be reevaluated in January, but he’s going to be out,” Izzo said. “The kid has been the most selfless, greatest attitude, committed kid.”
Before his injury last season, Langford averaged 15 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and .8 steals. He was the clear second option, if not first on occasion, along with Cassius Winston.
Izzo said he told Winston and fellow team-leader Xavier Tillman the news and said both players were “shocked.”
“To be honest with you, it’s one of those weird things that breaks my heart,” Izzo said.
The Spartans will start the season as the top-ranked team in the country according to the AP Poll, which undoubtedly considered Langford’s return as a large reason why they held that position. However, even with the loss to start the season, Michigan State should still be considered a favorite.
The emotional Izzo expressed his love for Langford and commended the senior’s strength and confidence in success going forward.
Langford was first seen not participating in basketball activities over the weekend during Michigan State’s scrimmage against Gonzaga. Former Spartans star Gary Harris was in attendance and posted a video of the team on his Instagram story, showing Langford in street clothes.
Izzo said he had been out a couple of weeks and the issue was not a result of any recent damage. He said the program would be cautious over the next few months and not take any chances. However, if Langford was ready to return, he would rejoin the team.
When asked about the potential to get a medical redshirt for Langford and have him return next year, Izzo said that decision would be left up to the NCAA and the player, saying Langford is on draft boards and will need to decide what is right for him.
The head coach repeatedly complimented Langford’s hard work during his recovery period.
Langford’s replacement to start the season is still an unknown. The expected player, Kyle Ahrens, suffered an ankle injury of his own during the Gonzaga scrimmage. Izzo gave several options as to what could be done at the two-guard position, including freshman Rocket Watts.
Looking ahead, Izzo expressed confidence in the rest of the Spartans team, especially the team’s leadership.
The Spartans start the season November 5 against the No. 2 ranked team in the country, Kentucky Wildcats, in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.