Michigan State suffered a number of setbacks to injury last year that almost derailed the Spartans a number of times at key moments throughout the season. Still, the team persevered under head coach Mark Dantonio and went on to win the Big Ten Championship and the 2013 Rose Bowl.
This Monday, it seems like the Spartans' bad luck has reared its ugly head for the first time this year once again. Projected starting right guard Connor Kruse, a 6-foot-5, 325-pound fifth-year senior, suffered an injury during last Friday's scrimmage that will sideline the young player for an indefinite amount of time.
The good news is that according to Dantonio, the injuries don't sound like they'll keep Kruse from playing for the rest of the season, and he could be back on the field before all is said and done.
"Connor did well, he was injured a little bit,'' Dantonio said on Monday when asked about Kruse's condition. "We don't talk about the injuries if they aren't season ending, and it's not season ending.''
Though the specifics of Kruse's injury are unknown, and Dantonio isn't speaking about it, what is known is that Kruse will be missed on the offensive line for the time being. Junior starter Donavon Clark (6-5, 306) will move from right tackle to right guard and third-year sophomore Kodi Kieler (6-6, 304) will make the switch to right tackle from the second unit.
"We're very comfortable, Kodi Kieler is one of the guys I looked at in the spring,'' Dantonio said. "He had an outstanding spring. He's a very athletic big guy, he's tough, and he knows what to do.''
Kruse was a walk on for his first two years on the team, but proved he had what it took and made the starting lineup under Dantonio. Kruse played all five offensive line positions last season and has proven to be one of the most versatile offensive players on the team.
The injured athlete spoke to the media on Monday, saying that he felt the offensive line was in good hands with his temporary replacements.
"Kodi (Kieler), me and Donovan (Clark) all worked together as a unit,'' Kruse said. "(Kieler) switches in, it doesn't bother any of us. It's more about the team that any personal gain for me.''
You can follow MSU writer, Michael Ferro, at twitter.com/MichaelFerro.