Roberts day-to-day after major scare

Updated: February 20, 2005, 2:08 AM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky crowd, all 24,000-plus of them, groaned almost in unison when they saw the replay of Mississippi State's Lawrence Roberts buckle to the floor.

The sight of Roberts' leg going in one direction while he fell in the other was painful to watch. Seeing Roberts writhing in pain, clutching his right knee added to the drama.

But the sight and sounds were much worse than the postgame prognosis.

Mississippi State trainer Scott Johnson said Roberts had suffered a quad contusion and sprain. His knee was deemed stable and unaffected.

"I had to ask somebody what happened," said Roberts, the reigning SEC player of the year. "I thought something really bad had happened. I couldn't feel my knee at first. I hyperextended it and it felt weird."

Roberts said he felt OK after the game, a 94-78 loss to No. 3 Kentucky in which the combination of three first-half fouls and the injury limited Roberts to just 19 minutes and seven points. That's the first time he didn't reach double figures since scoring seven against Arizona in the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim on Dec. 5.

"To be honest with you, I was shocked and I was just hoping it wasn't my ACL or anything like that," Roberts said.

Johnson said Roberts would remain day-to-day. The Bulldogs can't afford to move forward without him, even with the next game against Georgia, the SEC East's last-place team.

Mississippi State, which has lost four of its last six games to drop to 18-8, 6-6 in the SEC, still needs to get to eight SEC wins to feel secure about a possible NCAA Tournament at-large berth.

The Bulldogs finish with Ole Miss, at Arkansas and Alabama, a team that beat Mississippi State by 49 points in Tuscaloosa.

Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said he was scared when he saw Roberts (17.8 ppg, 11.3 rpg) on the court, nervous for him and obviously petrified to what could have been a crushing blow to this team.

The Bulldogs didn't quit, because if they had then Stansbury said they would have lost by 40. But they did commit 23 turnovers and missed 10 free throws

"We did battle them, even without Lawrence," Stansbury said.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com