Mississippi State loses guard Xavian Stapleton to knee injury

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After playing one season at Louisiana Tech, guard Xavian Stapleton transferred to Mississippi State and was expected to have the entire 2015-16 season to work on his game and help the Bulldogs in practice as he sat out per NCAA transfer rules. However those plans hit a bump in the road, as Stapleton suffered a knee injury in a pickup game that’s expected to sideline him for six months.

The Mississippi State basketball program announced the news Thursday, with the official diagnosis being a torn ACL and meniscus in Stapleton’s left knee.

“My heart goes out to Xavian and his family. You never want to see one of your players hurt,” Mississippi State first-year head coach Ben Howland said in a release according to the Clarion-Ledger. “But I’m 100 percent confident he’ll bounce back and be stronger than ever. It happened at a time that he should be ready to go when the season begins next year.”

Given the timeline announced, Stapleton would not be a full go in practices for the Bulldogs until February at the earliest. With guards Craig Sword and Fred Thomas being seniors and freshman Malik Newman projected by many to have the talent needed to turn pro after just one season in college, the practice time would have helped Stapleton prepare for what could be a prominent role in 2016-17.

Unfortunately, Stapleton’s knee injury means that much of the time that could have been spent on the court will now be spent rehabbing from the setback.