Photo courtesy MSU Athletics
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Mississippi State guard Nick Weatherspoon was injured and taken off the court on a stretcher after being stepped on with 14:54 remaining in the Bulldogs' 62-59 loss against No. 13 Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinals on Friday night.
Weatherspoon was lying on the court and grabbing his hip underneath the Tennessee basket when he was stepped on by the Volunteers' Kyle Alexander. The contact occurred while Alexander was contesting a Mississippi State fast break attempt, and after Weatherspoon had fallen on the floor and injured his hip on the previous play.
Play was paused for about 10 minutes as trainers and medical staff assisted Weatherspoon.
As Weatherspoon was loaded onto a stretcher, players from both Mississippi State and Tennessee came over to wish him well. That included his brother and teammate, Quinndary, a junior for the Bulldogs, and he left the court to a standing ovation in the Scottrade Center.
Weatherspoon was taken to a hospital by ambulance. Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said that Weatherspoon was conscious and moving everything.
"As soon as we're done with the media obligations, (Quinndary) and I will head over to the hospital where he's being kept," Howland said after the game.
After the sequence occurred, fans expressed frustration toward the officials for not stopping play earlier. The SEC released a statement on the matter.
"The play on which Nick Weatherspoon was injured unfolded in a rapid sequence of events that led to the continuation of play after Nick initially fell under the Mississippi State basket," said Mark Whitehead, SEC Coordinator of Officials. "The officials did not recognize Nick was injured until after the transition that led to the completion of the play where, unfortunately, he remained on the floor."