EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State will have to beat No. 11 Wisconsin without its head coach in the stadium.
Mark Dantonio instead will watch today's game from Sparrow Hospital, where he was re-admitted Thursday after doctors discovered a blood clot in his leg during a routine post-op examination. Dantonio, who suffered a mild heart attack Sept. 19 following his team's overtime win against Notre Dame, had planned to watch the Wisconsin game from the coaches' booth until the setback.
DantonioOffensive coordinator Don Treadwell will handle the head-coaching duties for the second straight week.
Michigan State is downplaying Dantonio's latest setback, and Dantonio's cardiologist said in a statement that blood clots "are not uncommon following a number of surgical procedures and can occur after a cardiac catheterization procedure." But no release date from the hospital has been set for the 54-year-old coach.
"Coach Dantonio is doing well and his prognosis is excellent,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said in a prepared statement. “He was admitted to Sparrow Hospital for monitoring and treatment. The cardiologist told Coach D that it was in his best interest to sit out another game and to stay off his feet. Although Coach D will be unable to watch today’s game from the press box, make no mistake that he remains in control of our football program. He was able to attend meetings and practices earlier this week, and since his hospitalization, he has been in regular contact with his coaching staff as well as the team captains and other team leaders.
"Coach D has the utmost confidence in his coordinators, Don Treadwell and Pat Narduzzi, and his entire coaching staff. He expects it to be business as usual this afternoon against Wisconsin."
We all wish Dantonio a speedy recovery. He certainly seemed to recover well from the initial procedure, but it's hard to know how long the latest setback will keep him away from his normal duties. I'd be a little surprised if he's back for next week's game at Michigan, but you never know.
Dantonio returned to the office Sunday and spent part of every day this week at the complex, where he attended practice.
As I've said from the beginning, Dantonio gives his coordinators a lot of autonomy, and Treadwell seems more than capable of handling the head-coaching duties. Dantonio's absence could provide another rallying point for the Spartans on an already emotionally charged day, but players certainly will miss having him in the stadium.
"Guys are really excited to see him around," Spartans star linebacker Greg Jones told me. "You feel like the tempo's picking up even more. Guys are going to really, really feel his presence more than they did last week."
I'm heading over to the stadium now and will have much more throughout the day.