Tyson Walker's injury marred a potentially special senior season

Michigan State's Tyson Walker gets back on defense after a 3-pointer against Iowa during the first
Michigan State's Tyson Walker gets back on defense after a 3-pointer against Iowa during the first / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA

When Tyson Walker initially suffered a groin injury, Tom Izzo told the media that he would be giving his star guard a bit of a rest in practice and it didn't seem all that serious. He was averaging about 20 points per game and didn't look to have lost a step.

Walker was in the middle of a special senior season that felt like it was going to end with some type of accolades. He was helping engineer a Michigan State turnaround after a 4-5 start and he was a lock for All-Big Ten first team status.

And then he left the Minnesota game with what looked to be a more serious injury than we thought.

The star guard still finished the Minnesota game with 20 points, but it wasn't enough as Michigan State couldn't hold on to a nine-point lead when he exited, falling 59-56. And then he played 34 minutes just four days later against Illinois, scoring 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting.

Since then, it's been all downhill. His record-breaking double-digit scoring streak was snapped in a win over Penn State as he just didn't look aggressive and went just 3-for-8 from the floor. Then he was just 6-for-16 in a road win over Michigan and 1-for-5 from deep -- again, lacking aggressiveness and explosion. He was 6-for-15 in a home loss to Iowa and then 5-for-15 in a shocking defeat in East Lansing to Ohio State.

This injury seems to be plaguing him more than he leads on and instead of getting a rest (there's no time for that), he's manahing the pain by not playing at full speed like he had been through the first three months of the year. It's clear that he's just not himself right now.

And it's unfortunate because he was on pace to be Michigan State's first 20-point-per-game scorer since Shawn Respert and a potential All-American. He was leading the Spartans back to relevance after a slow start and he looked like the best player on the floor at all times. And now, he's shooting under 40 percent from the floor over the past four games and has scored 20 points once (his previous average) since Jan. 18.

A potentially special season has been derailed by an injury. Stop me if you've heard this before regarding Michigan State basketball.