Jalen Steele is done for the season after suffering a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee, an MSU spokesman said today.
Steele, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, suffered the injury with just over five minutes remaining in Wednesday’s 79-72 loss at South Carolina. He came to a stop, and his knee buckled. He left the game and did not return.
It’s the second injury Steele has suffered this season. He missed eight games after suffering a fractured wrist in the season’s second game. Steele also missed three games last month when he was suspended for a violation of team rules. He had been coming off the bench since his return.
Steele wrote on Twitter today, “I got to start from the bottom again.” He will have surgery after spring break, which begins at the conclusion of classes Friday.
It’s the second major knee injury of his career. As a freshman, Steele tore the ACL and meniscus in his left knee late in the season.
Steele is averaging 10.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game this season. He’s struggled to find offensive consistency, shooting 33.9 percent from the floor, including 32.9 percent from 3-point range. He’s a 92.3-percent shooter at the free throw line.
“I feel for Jalen because he was starting to find his way in our offense and his role on our team after missing 8 games with his wrist injury earlier in the season,” coach Rick Ray said on Twitter. “Jalen has been through this before and handled it like a champ, and I know that he will come back again with the same winning results.”
This, of course, puts MSU back down to six available scholarship players. It’s played with low numbers all season because of offseason attrition, injuries to three other players, and various suspensions.
Steele was having a good game against South Carolina when he went down, scoring 17 points (his second-highest output of the season) on 6-of-13 shooting, and he was a big reason MSU was able to cut a 22-point deficit down to five in the second half. It was his best shooting night since going 6 of 10 and scoring 15 points against Tennessee on Jan. 19.
MSU (8-21, 3-14 SEC) closes out the regular season Saturday at home versus Auburn. The Bulldogs will open SEC Tournament play Wednesday in Nashville.