EAST LANSING – Tom Izzo's mood has changed in 24 hours. It has nothing to do with Purdue.
The Michigan State basketball coach received hope Tuesday morning that senior wing Malik Hall's season is unlikely to be over, although the timing of a potential return remains unclear.
"There's light at the end of the tunnel that we thought was closed," Izzo said Tuesday afternoon before the Spartans practice.
"As I told my team and the host in the morning meeting, at least the door is open. Honestly, the door was closed for two days. It was closed and the door was open. I don't know what that means."
Analysis: An injury, another crushing loss changes the trajectory of Michigan's basketball season.
Hall will not be available for Thursday's home game against Rutgers (6:30 p.m., FS1). In Friday's loss to Illinois, the 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward developed a left-leg push reaction that sidelined him for eight games in November and December. He won't be back when the Spartans travel to Indiana on Sunday.
But after Hall saw his podiatrist in MSU's thrilling and equally close 64-63 win-maker loss to the third-tier Boilermakers on Monday at the Breslin Center, the post-doctoral outlook has become a little more optimistic than worst-case scenario overnight. .
"I tried to stay away from the medical side, but I think he has a chance to play," Izzo said. After a week? I doubt. After two weeks? Maybe. Three weeks? Maybe. Then you go back through the whole process to bring him back and let him in.
READ MORE: Tom Izzo tells MSU fans to 'hang on to these guys' after another big effort and tough loss
Hall is averaging 9.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in nine games this season. He started the first four games before the stress response and averaged 12 points and 5.3 rebounds in 31.8 minutes in his first four games. In five games off the bench since returning against Buffalo on Dec. 30, he averaged 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19.9 minutes.
Hall missed the final 7:26 in Illinois State's 75-66 loss to MSU after apparently spraining his left ankle and rushing for a loose layup. He wore sneakers during Monday's game.
Without Hall, Izzo played four players for more than 30 minutes against Purdue: Tyson Walker scored 30 in 37 minutes, Joey Houser scored 10 in 38 minutes, AJ Hoggard scored 14 in 36 minutes and Jayden Akins scored 14 in 36 minutes. Five points in 32 minutes.
"People need to play more minutes like Joey, Jayden and myself," Walker said Monday. “But it's not too fast because we've done it before. It's hard without it (Hall). But we try to feel how long it lasts. I just have to answer."
On January 7 against Michigan, Hall sprained his left ankle but came back in the second half. He also suffered a foot injury at the end of September which prevented him from taking part in pre-season training.
Izzo said specialists told him and Holla that his leg was "healing well" this time.
"It's a more positive sign than it is," Izzo said. "I think the crack they saw is largely a healing process. Malik also broke his finger early in his career and there is a scar.
"Anything I can get away with as long as it doesn't harm his health in any way – and we guarantee it won't, your best guarantee – I think it's fine."
Contact Chris Solari at email@example.com . Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari .
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Game: Michigan State (12-6, 4-3 Big Ten) vs. Rutgers (13-5, 5-2).
Tip: Thursday 6:30 p.m.; Prislin Center, East Lansing.
TV/Radio: Fox Sports 1, WJR-AM (760).
This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Michigan State Basketball: Heartwarming news on Malik Hall's foot injury.