(Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

South Carolina starting center Alaina Coates injured her ankle during the SEC Tournament last month, forcing her to miss the Gamecocks’ NCAA Tournament run. And when South Carolina took on (and beat) Mississippi State in the tournament final Sunday night, Coates was back home on campus, not on the bench in Dallas.

To ESPN analysts on the pregame show, this seemed a bit weird.

After the pregame show discussed Coates’ injury, the star center tweeted, partially in all caps, that the conversation had been unfair and that the only reason she stayed home was because the team’s medical staff had told her to.

Surely the ESPN crew did not mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it’s fair that Coates was worried viewers would think she was selfish or bitter or disinterested in being with her team.

It was no secret why Coates was staying home from the Final Four. South Carolina coach Dawn Staley had already explained the situation to reporters on Saturday.

“Our medical staff just thinks it’s best that she not move around on it and not jump around because the excitement of being at a Final Four, you don’t want to hurt that ankle any further,” Staley said, according to The State. “She was going to come and our medical staff intervened, and we just thought it was best that she just stay off of it.”

After Sunday’s victory, Staley spoke about how important Coates was to the Gamecocks, even from afar.

Coates averaged 12.9 points and a team-high 10.7 rebounds this season for the Gamecocks.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.