The Michigan State Spartans are severely lacking in post presence. Who knows when and if Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling are even returning this year, and freshman Miles Bridges has been sidelined since the 78-69 loss at Duke, now three weeks ago as of Tuesday.

The team has fared well enough without Bridges, but are coming off a disappointing performance at home on Sunday, an 81-73 loss to Northeastern. Now the Spartans have to prep for their annual bout with in-state mid-major rival Oakland (9-1) on Wednesday night. Bridges will still be in street clothes, but he is reportedly close to returning.

Spartans head coach Tom Izzo said things are coming along well for the superstar freshman but it’s a matter of making sure he’s 110 percent ready to go with little to no chances of a setback.

“He just got out of the boot, so the chances of him playing right away after Christmas are slim, but I don’t know that,” Izzo said. “If it were up to him, he’s playing tomorrow night. So I have to watch that and make sure I do what’s right for him in the long run, not him in the short run.”

Wednesday’s tilt vs. OU marks the final non-conference game for the Spartans. They will kick off Big Ten play after Christmas at Minnesota (11-1) on Tuesday, December 27 and then return to East Lansing for the Big Ten home opener on Friday, December 30 against Northwestern (9-2).

Don’t expect the Spartans’ leading scorer and rebounder to make his return in those games, at least not as a starter.