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LSJ columnist Graham Couch, Freep beat writer Chris Solari and columnist Shawn Windsor break down the Spartans win over Purdue.
Graham Couch, Lansing State Journal

EAST LANSING — Joshua Langford is getting closer to a return, at least Tom Izzo believes.

Still, No. 6 Michigan State basketball’s coach ruled his junior guard out for his team’s game Sunday at Penn State.

“We’d be a much better right now with Josh,” Izzo said Thursday. “And I hope we get him back soon.”

It will be the fourth straight game without Langford for MSU (14-2, 5-0), on an nine-game win streak after Tuesday night’s 77-59 win over Purdue.

Izzo said the 6-foot-5 wing, who injured his left ankle against Northern Illinois on Dec. 29, continues to receive treatment on it. Langford continues to wear a heavy plastic walking boot.

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“They said it would be a week or so, and then they’ll take the boot off,” Izzo said. “We’ll have a better update by next Monday or Tuesday.”

Kyle Ahrens also has been plagued by a recent rash of injuries, first a slightly sprained ankle suffered in the Spartans’ win at Ohio State on Sunday and then re-aggravating a back injury on Tuesday night against the Boilermakers. The 6-6 junior has started all four games Langford has sat out.

“He didn’t do much (Thursday). It’ll be a day-to-day thing,” Izzo said. “He hurt it a couple weeks ago, and then I think on that dunk in the Ohio State game, he wrenched it. … That will be something I will keep an eye on, because that would be two people at a similar position.”

The Nittany Lions (7-9, 0-5) are coming off a 70-64 loss Thursday night at Nebraska. Tipoff is 4:30 p.m. Sunday (CBS).

Contact Chris Solari: csolari@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Download our Spartans Xtra app for free on Apple and Android devices!