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Tom Izzo discusses having Jeremy Fears back in East Lansing

Tom Izzo missed the freshman point guard.

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Michigan State basketball
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tom Izzo and Spartan fans were happy to see Jeremy Fears Jr. back in East Lansing after suffering a scary off-court injury in his hometown.

I think this is something that we were all excited to see. Jeremy Fears came back to East Lansing last Friday after suffering an injury to his leg after being shot in his hometown of Joliet, Ill. I was extremely hopeful he would be at the Indiana State game because I just knew Spartan Nation would give him a standing ovation to show support.

That’s exactly what happened as he made his way to the bench before tip-off against Indiana State.

Tom Izzo speaks on having Fears back

Tom Izzo spoke a lot about Fears being back, both in pregame and postgame interviews on Saturday. This quote stood out to me the most because it shows just how much Izzo loves Jeremy and feels for him.

“I missed him so it has been good. I was missing him today.”

Not only did Izzo miss him on the court, but he genuinely missed him as a person this past week. That once again just proves why Michigan State has the best culture in the country. Basketball is not the first thing on Izzo’s mind after this tragedy, he just wants to be there for Fears and help him heal up in any way he can.

Izzo also went on to discuss the impact Fears is having on the team as well. Izzo shared that, “I loved him in those huddles a couple of times. I loved him at halftime.” Tom also shared pregame that, “He’s walking around, with the team, shooting free throws from a chair.”

Fears can still have an impact on this team, and it sounds like he is. He has always been praised as an elite leader, even dating back to his high school days. He will be a future captain of this team, and he might start taking on that role even more now. Hearing how he is speaking up in huddles and during halftime is amazing. He obviously can’t help on the court, but his basketball knowledge and advice he can give from the sideline is more valuable than people think.

Potential for a return

There is still no timetable for Fears to return to basketball activities. Tom has shared that they know a lot more now that our training staff is responsible for his recovery, but their continued focus continues to only be on his healing, not on his return to basketball.

However, there is a loose timeframe that has been said a few times now. When Izzo was first asked in his press conference about a timeline for a return, Izzo said, “With Jeremy, there’s no sense of even asking me a question until these six or eight weeks are up. You can ask him, and he’ll give you the same answer.”

Six to eight weeks would put us at the middle or end of February. So on paper that could be enough time to get him back on the court. But I think it’s unlikely that will happen.

I believe this six to eight weeks is just when they are going to re-evaluate his health and how he is healing. Depending on that, he could start practicing again, but it would obviously start in an extremely limited capacity. So would he be able to work his way up to being “game-ready” by the end of the season? I find it unlikely.

But like I keep saying, none of that matters. His health and recovery matters infinitely more than getting him back on the court in time before the season ends. I’m just glad that Jeremy Fears Jr. is back with the team and contributing in more of a coach’s role.

Lead writer for Spartan Shadows since April 2023, writing over 450 articles. Michigan State basketball, football and recruiting expert. Class of 2019 graduate from Michigan State University specializing in Sports Management. Daily MSU runs a popular X page (@daily_msu) covering all things MSU Sports.

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