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Michigan State loses starter to injury for Phil Knight Invitational, key reserve 'doubtful' vs. Alabama

The Spartans could be without two key players today vs. Alabama, and one of the two could be 'Out' for multiple games...

Michigan State men's basketball will be without starting small forward Malik Hall for the entirety of the Phil Knight Inviational in Portland, Ore. according to a report from The Athletic's Brendan Quinn late last night.

Quinn reports that the Spartans expect to be without Hall for "multiple weeks".

Additionally, Quinn also reported that MSU sophomore guard Jaden Akins is 'doubtful' for the Spartans' first game of the invitational against No. 18 Alabama on Thanksgiving evening.

Akins, who has been the first player off the bench for Michigan State through the first four games, left MSU's last game against Villanova with about six minutes left to play after 'tweaking' his surgically-repaired left foot against the Wildcats.

This comes after Akins missed about nine weeks of practice this offseason. The sophomore guard sat out during the Spartans' exhibition game against Grand Valley State, but returned to action in time for Michigan State's season-opener against Northern Arizona.

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The Lansing State Journal's Graham Couch confirmed Quinn's report:

 Michigan State has gotten off to a strong start in 2022-23, with wins over Kentucky and Villanova alongside a one-point loss to Gonzaga. The Spartans recently entered the Associated Press' Top 25 rankings, debuting at No. 12 in the country for Week 2.

However, as noted above, the road ahead will be difficult for MSU. The Spartans still have several tough non-conference games ahead, and Michigan State's depth was limited even before the injuries to Hall and Akins.

Through four games, Hall was averaging 12.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.8 blocks and 0.5 steals in 31.8 minutes per game. Akins, meanwhile, is averaging 6.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 0.8 steals in 20.3 minutes per game this season.

Sophomore guard-wing hybrid Pierre Brooks should see his minutes rise dramatically with Hall out and Akins doubtful, as should freshmen Tre Holloman (guard) and Jaxson Kohler (center).