IOWA CITY — Michigan Star star forward Adreian Payne likely will miss his sixth straight game with a sprained foot, Coach Tom Izzo confirmed Monday.
Payne, a 6-foot-10 senior, ranks second on the Spartans in both scoring (16.2) and rebounding (7.9). He has posted four double-doubles this season. The No. 3 Spartans (18-2, 7-1) play at No. 10 Iowa (16-4, 5-2) on Tuesday.
"He’s day-to-day," Izzo said this morning. "He ran (Sunday), a little bit more with more weight on it. Very doubtful for (Tuesday). How he does, I think, on Thursday will determine the rest of the week."
Payne was a preseason all-Big Ten and All-American candidate and twice earned Big Ten player of the week honors. He's only six blocks shy of the Spartans' record for career blocks.
"He’s so versatile, he’s hard to guard in the post, he’s got great post moves, he’s got a jump hook," Izzo said. "Last year he led the conference in free-throw shooting. So when you need a big bucket, you can go down there and either get fouled or score. He’s become a much better passer and better defender. When he sets a ball screen, he’s a pick-and-pop guy, so you can’t just double (point guard Keith) Appling.
"Who is our best player? I’m not always sure. But he might be our most versatile player, which might help the other guys. It helps (guard Gary) Harris because sometimes you might double the post. It helps Appling because he can set screens. It helps our defense because he’s quick enough. We can switch four/five. So there’s no question he is our most versatile player along with one of our best. So it’s a loss, but it is what it is and we’re used to it now and we’ve just got to move on."
Michigan State also will be without starting forward Branden Dawson, who suffered a broken hand last week. Dawson was Michigan State's rebounding leader (8.7) and averaged 10.2 points a game. It's his second straight missed game.