By all accounts, Andrew Maxwell had been impressive in his first spring as Michigan State's projected starting quarterback.
Unfortunately for Maxwell, his spring could be coming to an early end after he sprained his right knee in Saturday's scrimmage. Spartans coach Mark Dantonio told reporters before today's practice that Maxwell suffered the injury when he fell while backing away from the defense. Teams go to great lengths to protect quarterbacks in practice -- most quarterbacks aren't allowed to be hit -- but noncontact injuries like this one do occur at times.
Maxwell hasn't been ruled out for Michigan State's spring game on April 28, but he will miss some time and be re-evaluated next week. While it's certainly better to have this injury occur in the spring than in the summer or fall, Michigan State's first-team offense needs as much time as it can get with Maxwell. The Spartans are replacing their top three wide receivers (B.J. Cunningham, Keshawn Martin and Keith Nichol) and their top tight end (Brian Linthicum) from the 2011 team.
The Spartans lack depth at quarterback and have only one other scholarship player, redshirt freshman Connor Cook, on the field this spring. Cook will take most of the first-team reps this week and could play quarterback for both teams in the spring game.
Coach Mark Dantonio put a positive spin on the situation, telling reporters, "The reality is, if it had to happen, you'd rather [Maxwell] do it than Connor. Connor needs the work. He's the true freshman. Andrew's been in the system for three years and he'll be ready to go."
The coaches don't need to see what Maxwell can do in practice, but his absence places added importance on the summer for the offense to come together.