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STARKVILLE — Mississippi State men's basketball can breathe a sigh of relief.
After forward Tolu Smith underwent an MRI on Sunday morning, the Bulldogs found no structural damage in his left knee and he's considered week-to-week. Coach Ben Howland said the initial prognosis was a subluxation of the patella — or a partially dislocated knee cap.
The usual recovery time is three to six weeks, according to the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, although Smith has returned sooner from injuries in the past.
The injury occurred with just over a minute remaining in Saturday's win against Ole Miss, and Smith needed help to get off the court and into the locker room. Howland said he was "kicking" himself for leaving Smith in the game that late, but he wanted to make sure the score remained distant as the Bulldogs try to boost an NCAA Tournament resume.
Smith has faced plenty of injuries this season. He missed the beginning of the campaign as he recovered from a stress fracture in his foot. Shortly after his return, a fractured pinky toe held him out again.
Health and safety protocols forced him to miss two more games, but he played well in his last three games, including 11 points against Ole Miss. In eight games this season, he has averaged 13.3 points and 6.6 rebounds.
Without Smith, Garrison Brooks will likely start at center. Javian Davis' role also will increase.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi State's Tolu Smith 'week-to-week' after MRI on knee