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Health scare had Villanova’s JayVaughn Pinkston fearful he could lose his leg

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Villanova forward Jayvaughn Pinkston (Getty Images)

When JayVaughn Pinkston posted and then later removed a photo of himself on crutches this past August, anxious Villanova fans feared the junior forward suffered an undisclosed injury that could sideline him into the season.

Pinkston finally revealed the reason for his crutches to the New York Post on Saturday night, and it turns out he was in jeopardy of losing more than just a few games.

Doctors feared Pinkston's leg might have to be amputated after they diagnosed him with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a dangerous, potentially deadly infection caused by a strain of staph bacteria resistant to commonly used antibiotics. Orange puss oozed from Pinkston's right calf, and he could not put any weight on the leg.

"At first it was scary," Pinston told The Post. "I didn’t know if I was going to lose my leg or not. I kept praying that I was going to be all right."

Thankfully for Pinkston, doctors discovered the infection early enough to save his leg. Emergency surgery eliminated the bacteria, and he told the Post that doctors assured him at a recent check-up that he's MRSA free.

That's tremendous news for a Villanova program that needs Pinkston to build on the progress he made as a sophomore last season. Not only did Pinkston average 13.3 points and 5.0 rebounds last season as the focal point of the Wildcats' offense, the physical 6-foot-7 forward also learned how to recognize double teams and set up his teammates by making the extra pass.

A McDonald's All-American whose focus and work ethic hasn't always matched his talent, Pinkston seems to have matured as a result of his health scare. If a greater appreciation for what was almost taken from him can lead him to give his best effort at practice or in conditioning drills, then perhaps the infection will later be viewed as a blessing in disguise.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter.

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