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Sam Smith has a fractured femur, is out for the SEC Tournament

Roll your eyes all you want, but Smith is actually an important piece to the bullpen.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Thin on reliable pitching depth as it is, Ole Miss will head to Hoover without the most experienced arm on the staff. Sam Smith, who's currently gimping it around on crutches and hasn't pitched since April 28th, has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left femur and won't be available for the SEC Tournament, per Chase Parham.

Smith could be back in time for regional play, though, according to Jake Thompson of the Oxford Eagle.

The Rebs don't have much to gain in Hoover, so Smith's absence from the SEC Tourney isn't a big deal. But if this thing lingers into the NCAA Tourney, it could be. Sure, Smith has been a major disappointment this season and got bucked out of the starting rotation midway through the schedule, but he's still a guy with 245 career innings under his belt and figures to be an important piece to the bullpen puzzle in the postseason. With Scott Weathersby having moved from reliever to starter (he's expected to start the first game of the SEC Tourney on Tuesday, by the way), Wyatt Short and Jacob Waguespack are the only known commodities that Mike Bianco has in the pen.

As bad as he's been as a starter, Smith has actually been pretty competent as a reliever. He has an ugly 6.41 ERA over 46.1 total innings pitched, but a 3.24 ERA in his 16.2 relief innings.

On the plus side, Parham also reported that Connor Cloyd may return to the lineup in Hoover. The junior was hitting over .400 in the leadoff spot before straining his oblique against State two weeks ago.