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Michigan State star Denzel Valentine out 2-3 weeks with knee injury

The top-ranked Spartans will begin Big Ten play without one of the best players in the country.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine, perhaps the early front-runner for national Player of the Year, will miss the next two to three weeks after suffering an injury to his left knee Sunday night in practice. The senior guard underwent a mild arthroscopic procedure on the knee Monday morning.

Through the first six weeks of the 2015-16 season, Valentine has been the top performer on the nation's No. 1 ranked team. After Saturday's 17-point effort in a 78-58 win over Northeastern, he is averaging 18.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game. Valentine has already notched a pair of triple-doubles this season, the first coming against Kansas and the second against Boston College.

At a press conference Monday morning, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said that junior guard Eron Harris will take Valentine's spot in the starting lineup. Harris, a transfer from West Virginia known for his scoring ability, is currently averaging 7.0 points and 2.3 assists per game.

Valentine's injury means that he'll miss at least the first week of conference play, a span which shouldn't be overly challenging for the 12-0 Spartans. Michigan State does open its league slate with a challenging game at Iowa on Dec. 29, but they follow that with manageable tilts against Minnesota, Penn State and Illinois.