'Nova's Pinkston describes his bout with MRSA

Posted: October 24, 2013

JayVaughn Pinkston didn't think much about the sore on his right leg until one summer day back at his Brooklyn home when he couldn't get out of bed.

The Villanova junior forward's concern turned into full-blown fear when, after a series of doctor visits, Pinkston was found to have contracted MRSA, a staph infection resistant to antibiotics.

The diagnosis, followed by emergency surgery in late August and six days of recovery at Bryn Mawr Hospital, left him plenty of time to ponder the worst.

"I was just scared that I might lose my leg because my leg had turned orange," Pinkston said Tuesday at the Wildcats' media day at the Davis Center. "There was a lot of pus in there, so I was just nervous about losing my leg.

"For the first couple of days [after surgery], I couldn't move. I didn't start moving around, really walking around on my own, until the fifth day after surgery. But it feels better now, no problems."

The 6-foot-7 Pinkston, the Wildcats' top scorer last season with a 13.3-point average, said he was never told what caused the infection. He thought it might have been because of eczema, scratching a patch of skin, "and some bacteria getting in."

Jay Wright said he was on vacation at the Jersey Shore when he heard of Pinkston's illness.

"In the beginning, they just thought he had an infection," the Villanova coach said. "Then when we knew it was MRSA and I came back and saw him in the hospital, then you knew it was really serious.

"Now that it's over, it was a great experience for him because it was really humbling . . . really eye-opening. There might have been a day or two where he thought, 'I might not play.' That's why I say it was good. He and I talked about it. It brings him to reality and what's important in life."

Wright said that even before the infection, Pinkston had grown during the offseason and has had a great attitude since rejoining the team last month for the start of preseason practice.

As for Pinkston, who said he is back in game shape, he wants to get his weight down for the season opener Nov. 8 against Lafayette at the Pavilion. He weighed 260 pounds in his first season with the Wildcats and 240 last year. He hopes to get down to 230.

"I feel like I'm in better shape," he said. "It will get me up and down, give me more opportunities getting to the basket and just getting my teammates more involved."



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