This Kentucky team has had its fair share of injuries this season and the bench just got shorter, so when Nate Sestina grabbed his right shoulder and ran immediately to the locker room early in the second half, the Big Blue Nation held its collective breath. Thankfully, Sestina returned shortly after and checked back in, playing eight more minutes without issue.
Afterwards, Sestina told reporters his shoulder is fine, but the moment made him flashback to his freshman season at Bucknell, when he suffered a torn labrum and had to redshirt the rest of the season.
“That’s what I hurt my freshman year, that’s why I’m here. I took my redshirt. So, it kind of slipped a little bit, it felt a little goofy. Kind of brought back some bad memories, it scared me more than anything.”
“I’ll just ice it, rehab it. Like I said I think it just scared me more than anything. It’s just really sore, it’s not like anything is hurt. I’m not in any pain. Then I had Cal say, ‘if you’re ready to play then play,’ so I was just trying to carry some momentum and carry things, move forward and try to get a win.”
After checking back in, Sestina didn’t score, but pulled down two rebounds, blocked a shot, and had an assist. He was also effective on defense, helping Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery shut down Mississippi State’s bigs. In the first half, he scored six straight points in just over two minutes of play, a welcome sight after a rough outing vs. Auburn.
“For me, it’s just seeing two quick bunnies go in felt good. And you always want to try to play better on defense than you do on offense and I always try to have that effort. And if you see two quick go in, it makes everything better. You’re feeling good and you’re energetic, but like, if you miss those you can’t let that affect how you play.”