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November 26, 2012Michigan State team physician Dr. Jeff Kovan, with health updates on Gary Harris and Travis Trice:
EAST LANSING - Gary Harris and Travis Trice returned to practice at Michigan State, Monday evening - somewhat to the surprise of head coach Tom Izzo.
Trice, who is returning from a concussion and broken nose, practiced with a clear mask on his face, Monday. He is expected to play Wednesday against Miami.
Harris wears a protective harness on his injured shoulder off the court, but practiced on Monday without any additional support or bandages.
Harris, who was Michigan State's leading scorer through three games, could return for Wednesday's game at Miami.
"There is a possibility," said team physician Jeff Kovan. "But again it will be coach's decision on how he looks and how Gary feels. And he has to be confident in it."
Harris participated in most of the drills on Monday, seemingly without a problem.
"We've limited some of (the contact with him)," Kovan said. "We are eliminating some of the drills, the war drills and things that he doesn't need to be in. So we will progress him every day.
"We wanted to put him through most of the drills and see how he felt. So far so good. So tomorrow we will add to that. And Wednesday will be based pretty much on how the next couple of days go."
If Harris is probable for Wednesday, Trice is "even more likely" for the game, Kovan said.
Izzo first learned of Trice's availability from media members during his Monday press conference after they saw that Trice had Tweeted that he had been cleared to practice.
"At noon today, coach didn't know," Kovan said. "It was really based on how did he do with practice today, full, with the mask on. He did well. And everything else with him has gone according to plan. So Travis, we are anticipating, will be ready for Wednesday."
As for lingering effects, Kovan said there are some small concerns.
"If (Travis) gets hit in the head he is more vulnerable than you and I, but he has passed all the tests we required," Kovan said.
Harris is also a bit more at risk.
"His risk is a little higher but the reality is we won't put him back until his strength is close to 100 percent, and he's pretty close," Kovan said. "Still, every time he comes around a pick I'm going to worry about it because that's the nature of the injury and you worry about those. But we have had some of our football guys with similar injuries do real well too but they are all a little different in where they're injured and how they return."
Trice sustained the head injury in the season opener against Connecticut. He will wear the mask for another two weeks.
Harris went down with a shoulder injury in the opening minute of Michigan State's victory over Boise State last Tuesday. Doctors told Izzo after the game that Harris might be lost for the season.
"But they didn't tell me that," Harris said. "I guess they didn't want that weighing on me."
But it weighed on Izzo, who was visibly distraught after the game.
"We really felt the day of the injury that we could get lucky and it would be short-term like this or it could be a season-ending injury," Kovan said. "It was very close to being a bigger issue. So we were really thrilled with how it turned out and even more thrilled with how he has done."
Trice felt good after practice on Monday.
"I feel great," Trice said. "No headaches. I'm symptom-free. I'm just ready to play.
"It's gotten a lot better. Toward the end of last week, I turned the corner. After the Boise State game, I didn't have a headache, and they were like, 'Okay now we can start moving forward.'
"You can't play with fear or not to get hit. So I'm just going out there to play regular. I felt normal today."
Trice is Michigan State's first guard off the bench, serving as a reserve wing and also the back-up point guard to starter Keith Appling.
Appling has logged 40, 38 and 38 minutes in the last three games.
"After the game, Keith is always like, 'Man, when are you coming back?'" Trice said. "That's the first thing he says. He hasn't been getting any breaks.
"There were a couple of times today when I said, 'I got you. Go get your rest now.' He's liking that I'm back."