Michigan State hoping a timeline for Josh Langford's mysterious foot injury arrives this week

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Tom Izzo hopes to have a timeline by the end of the week on when or if Michigan State standout shooting guard Josh Langford will return, the coach told CBS Sports. 

MSU is 15-2 and ranked No. 6 in the AP Top 25 despite being affected by injuries throughout this season. Izzo said the Spartans will not have Langford or junior forward Kyle Ahrens, who sprained his back against Ohio State on Jan. 5 and is still on the mend, for MSU's Thursday night road tilt against 13-4 Nebraska. 

As for Langford, Izzo is still worrying a bit and uncertain if, or when, his much-improved junior will return. 

"What I had in Josh was a three-year starter that, not like Gary Harris totally, but like Gary Harris was scoring 17 a game and was my best defensive guard," he said. "Getting him back would help in the long run." 

Izzo said Langford (15.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg) should have his walking boot taken off his left foot by the end of the week. From there, ideally, a clearer picture on recovery will emerge. Langford mysteriously hurt himself at some point in recent weeks, but no one knows when or how. He asked to be taken out of the first half of Michigan State's home game vs. Northern Illinois on Dec. 29 and hasn't played since. 

"It's a pain in a weird area," Izzo said. "Not a fifth metatarsal or Jones fracture. It doesn't seem to be broken, and so it's been a little different than most injuries. It's not like we're hiding something. It's a little bit unknown. It's either going to start feeling better or maybe it's something a little more serious."

The staff is trying to ward off concerns that Langford's affliction is a season-ending injury, but Izzo didn't rule that out. 

"I don't think it's a high percentage, but I don't think that it's off off the table when you don't know," Izzo said. "Josh wants to play, but it's matter of we're not going to take any chances. We're not going to rush him back." 

Izzo said Langford can't isolate pressure on that left foot/ankle. Langford's a workout fiend, so there is concern about it being something similar to a stress fracture, yet initial MRI results didn't point to that being the issue. Michigan State likely would need Langford available in March in order to compete for a national title against what's become a loaded top tier of contenders. 

The Spartans are 6-0 in the Big Ten but play three of their next four on the road. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning senior writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his ninth season reporting on college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics... Full Bio

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