Ole Miss shortstop Grae Kessinger ‘all good’ after foot surgery, expected back by fall

Published 1:10 pm Thursday, June 1, 2017

Grae Kessinger’s foot surgery came and went without any issues.

“All good,” Kessinger’s father, Kevin Kessinger, said. “Everything went as I guess the doctors hoped and planned.”

Grae, Ole Miss’ freshman shortstop, had surgery Wednesday to repair the Jones fracture he suffered just hours before the Rebels’ Southeastern Conference Tournament opener against Auburn on May 23, a game Ole Miss lost 5-4 to end its season. Renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, who’s also a team doctor for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, performed the surgery in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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The surgery, which consisted of inserting a screw into the fifth metatarsal on the outside of the foot, will keep Grae in a boot for eight to 10 weeks depending on how quickly the fracture heals, Kevin said.

“He’s not going to get to do anything this summer other than I guess rehab toward the end of the summer,” Kevin said. “He’s out for the summer, but (doctors) told him he should be back for the fall.”

The fracture came after Grae dealt with soreness in his foot for most of the season, but it was never bad enough that he couldn’t play on it. Kevin told the EAGLE the morning of Ole Miss’ game against Auburn that Grae had fractured his foot before the school later clarified in a statement it happened while Grae was playing ping pong in the tournament’s players’ lounge.

Kevin said it was a stress reaction that pushed his son’s foot to its literal breaking point.

“Off and on, he’d say when he’d plant to throw or hit or something, it might bother him, but then it would go away and he’d play,” Kevin said. “It wasn’t like he didn’t tell (the coaches) or it wasn’t like they played him when he was hurting. No one knew. He literally bent over to pick up a ping-pong ball, and that’s when it just clean broke.

“His whole life, he wanted to play in that tournament, fighting with his teammates to be in a regional. Then to not be able to walk out there with them, that was tough. It really was. But once he understood the consequences and where he was, he was just ready to get the next phase started and get back after it. That’s where we are now.”

Known for his glovework, Grae, the former Oxford High standout, started 53 of the 55 games he played this season. He hit .175 with two homers, five doubles and 16 RBIs.