‘My heart goes out to Justin’: Gamecocks guard Minaya may need surgery after injuring thumb

‘My heart goes out to Justin’: Gamecocks guard Minaya may need surgery after injuring thumb
South Carolina guard A.J. Lawson (00) and forward Justin Minaya (10) get pressure on Missouri guard Xavier Pinson (1) during second-half action in Columbia, S.C. on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA) (Source: Travis Bell)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Despite South Carolina’s three-game winning streak, Gamecocks head coach Frank Martin had a look of frustration on his face when he met with reporters on Monday.

“There’s a large cloud that sits over this campus that constantly just craps on you any time your team plays well,” said Martin.

The source of Martin’s frustration is the latest injury news to plague the Gamecocks’ roster. Redshirt sophomore Justin Minaya dislocated his left thumb over the weekend against Missouri.

"I don't want to guess right now," said Martin. "It looks like it's going to need surgery to get repaired. We're trying to figure out how to manage that moving forward."

Minaya could miss considerable time on the court, which is disheartening news to South Carolina's coach when you factor in how the team is currently playing, along with how well Minaya has performed in SEC action.

"My heart goes out to Justin," replied Martin. "I don't think I've been around too many guys that care about their team as much as he cares about our team."

The Gamecocks have won five of their last six games to improve their record to 13-8 (5-3 SEC). Minaya has been instrumental in this success as he ranks in the top three on the team in league play in blocks, assists, steals, and rebounds.

"When you coupled his energy and aggression at the rim rebounding, blocking shots, his defense helping and defending on the perimeter, and he was starting to shoot the basketball," said Martin. "He was starting to regain that he had from a shooting standpoint. Because of his efforts, we've become a better team."

Martin now will look to others on the bench to fill the void left with Minaya's absence.

South Carolina returns to action on Wednesday at Ole Miss. That game tips off at 7 p.m. and can be seen on the SEC Network.

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