Smith is expected to return at some point during SEC play, which begins for the Bulldogs on Jan. 6 at South Carolina.
“We’re going to support and care for Tolu’s mental and physical well-being during every step of the recovery process,” coach Chris Jans said. “We will continue to move forward with our preparations for the upcoming season as Tolu and his family would expect us to. He will continue to serve as a team leader from the sidelines until we welcome him back on the floor.”
Smith was a first-team All-SEC selection last season after averaging 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds, shooting 57.2% from the field. He helped lead Mississippi State to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2019, scoring in double figures in each of the Bulldogs’ final 18 games and notching 10 double-doubles during that stretch.
The 6-foot-11 senior went for 28 points and 12 rebounds in an SEC tournament win over Florida, a win that potentially pushed the Bulldogs into the NCAA tournament. He also had huge performances in two of Mississippi State’s biggest wins in the second half of the season: 27 points, 13 rebounds and five assists against TCU, and 25 points and 12 rebounds against Missouri.
Mississippi State opens the 2023-24 season against Arizona State in Chicago. Without Smith, expect West Virginia transfer Jimmy Bell to start down low. Bell averaged 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Mountaineers last season.