EAST LANSING, Mich. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has not been quite sure how to approach small forward Branden Dawson this season.
How far do you push an athlete coming back from anterior cruciate ligament knee surgery? Thats a slippery slope for a coach to navigate. But Izzo decided to prod Dawson after a lackluster first half Saturday against Purdue, and Dawson responded in a big way to lead the Spartans to victory.
Dawson had four points and three rebounds in the first half, but came back to finish with 14 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double since the season opener with Connecticut in Germany.
The injury has bothered the kid, Izzo said. He just hasnt come backThe second half, I think he just decided to let it go. And I dont think its physically hindering him. But like people tell me, theres a mental hindrance to serious injuries like that. And I think B.J. played at a different energy level in the second half.
I dont think he necessarily played that much bett...