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Sharp Sword of Bulldogs: MSU freshman guard recognized by league

January 14, 2013

Mississippi State player Craig Sword celebrates during a win against South Carolina. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

It's hard to believe that Craig Sword played on a sprained ankle on Saturday, especially with the way he played.

The Mississippi State freshman guard played against Georgia with the injury that he suffered against South Carolina last Wednesday.

The 6-foot-3, 189-pound Montgomery, Ala. native was selected as Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week on Monday for his play against South Carolina and Georgia.

Sword is the second MSU freshman to win the honor this season. Former Starkville High School standout Gavin Ware garnered the award after his performance against Central Arkansas in Jackson a week before Christmas.

"It means a lot, but I've got to move on from it and move onto the next game," Sword told the media Monday afternoon.

He scored a career-high 18 points against the Gamecocks and a steal leading to a dunk that sealed the game. He backed that up with a 16-point performance versus the home-standing Bulldogs in Athens, Ga.
Before Saturday's game against Georgia, Sword has his ankle doctored up by trainer Scotty Johnson.

"Scotty put a lot of tape on it and an ankle brace for it," Sword said. "I couldn't even feel it."

Leading up to the game against Georgia, Sword didn't practice and it was unclear until the shoot around if he was going to play.

"He didn't practice the previous two days," MSU head coach Rick Ray said. "He has been in a boot. The first time he actually had any sort of activity was game day when we went out to start warming up to test the ankle and see if he could actually play or not. We had no indication of how he would be able to play or if he would be able to play due to the ankle. It's a phenomenal thing for Craig to come in, fight like that and play for our team. Not just play, but play well."

Sword's ankle is still questionable for practice, but he should be able to go for Wednesday's matchup with Alabama.

"It's alright," Sword said of his ankle. "I am getting treatment on it. It is keeping me away from practice. I want to practice. Scotty told me I need to keep getting treatment on it to make it better for the game."

The Bulldogs have been playing well as of late. They have won three-straight games and have opened the SEC campaign with two-straight wins. MSU hasn't been 2-0 in the SEC since the 2010 season.

For Sword, he has also found his game and it is showing.

"Now I'm really starting to let the game come to me," Sword said. "Now we have Jalen (Steele) back and he is opening my game up a little bit more."

The Bulldogs (7-7, 2-0) square off with the Alabama Crimson Tide (9-6, 1-1) on Wednesday inside Humphrey Coliseum. The tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and can be seen on CSS.

Sword knows several players that play for Alabama.

"I know Trevor Lacy and Levi (Randolph)," Sword said. "I've played with them. It will be fun to play against them."

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