Mississippi State's Tolu Smith injured against Ole Miss; MRI scheduled Sunday morning

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Jan. 23—STARKVILLE — Mississippi State forward Tolu Smith went down with an apparent knee injury Saturday afternoon with fewer than two minutes remaining in MSU's 78-60 win against Ole Miss.

Smith was helped off by a trainer and teammate Javian Davis, going straight to the locker room.

Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland said Smith will have an MRI at 8 a.m. Sunday, but preliminary reports show a potential dislocation.

Howland provided no timeline on a potential return.

Smith's injury came with Mississippi State up by 18 — a lead Howland wanted to maintain as final scores play a role in NET rankings.

"I'm blaming myself, believe me," Howland said about not removing his starters from the game. "I'm kicking myself. We just didn't want the lead to dissipate in the last two minutes."

This injury adds a new layer to what has already been a frustrating year for Smith.

He didn't return to the court until Nov. 25 against Louisville — MSU's fifth game of the season.

An injury to the opposite foot shortly after kept Smith out another four games before he returned Dec. 29 for MSU's SEC opener against Arkansas.

He missed the next two games due to COVID-19 before returning for MSU's previous three outings — a win against Alabama, a loss at Florida and Saturday's win against Ole Miss.

Smith, a Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, native, is averaging 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in eight games played this season.

His 8.4 rebounds per game last season led the SEC.

STEFAN KRAJISNIK is the Mississippi State athletics reporter for the Daily Journal. Contact him at stefan.krajisnik@djournal.com.