By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Mississippi State’s basketball team got more bad news on Wednesday.
An MRI revealed that starting guard Jalen Steele has a fractured left wrist and will be out about six weeks, the school announced. On top of that, forward Colin Borchert has been suspended for a violation of team rules.
That leaves the Bulldogs (1-1) with only six available scholarship players for its trip to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational. The team leaves today and will face No. 11 North Carolina on Monday.
MSU lost two players to knee injuries before the season, and two others were dismissed. Steele’s loss is especially troublesome, because he is the team’s top returning scorer.
The junior was injured in Tuesday’s win over FAU when he drove in for a layup and took a hard fall with 10:47 left in the first half. He needed eight stitches in his head.
It’s Steele’s second major injury in college, having suffered a torn ACL and meniscus late in his freshman season.
He will not need surgery on the wrist.
“I know with Jalen’s work ethic that he will attack his rehab and be ready to come back and help this team when that time comes,” first-year coach Rick Ray said in a statement.
Steele scored 16 points in a season-opening loss at Troy. A six-week absence would have him returning to action around Christmas, and well before MSU opens SEC play on Jan. 9 against South Carolina.
Borchert, a junior college transfer, averaged 5.0 points and 3.5 rebounds through the first two games. Ray did not say how long Borchert’s suspension will be, but he’ll miss at least three games, which is how many MSU is playing in Maui.