COLUMBIA — Christine Flores didn't even feel the pain. When her finger got caught in the opponent's jersey, she simply pulled it out and continued to play.
A time out was called on the floor late in the Missouri women's basketball team's Jan. 12 loss at Texas Tech. When she got to the huddle, Flores, a junior forward for the Tigers, looked down to see her right middle finger turned at a 90-degree angle at the knuckle. Then she showed the trainer.
Missouri Tigers (9-8, 1-2 Big 12)
at Kansas State Wildcats (11-5, 1-2 Big 12)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, Kan.
RADIO: KTGR/1580 AM, 100.5 FM
"(The trainer) thought it was just dislocated, and she looked at it more," Flores said. "My upper part where the finger nail is, it was twisted in towards my ring finger, and it was also still crooked."
After further examination, doctors told Flores that she broke the middle phalanx in her right middle finger in four places. The injury can take up to six weeks to heal, but Flores expects to return to play Wednesday at Kansas State, just one week after the injury occurred.
"I’ll play in pain. Just being out there, it might help. If it doesn’t help then sit me," Flores said.
Flores was forced to sit out Saturday's loss to Texas A&M because she had surgery on her finger the night before. Doctors inserted a metal plate and four screws to stabilize the shattered bone. Flores now wears a splint that covers her entire finger.
Missouri missed her 6-foot-3 frame on the inside in the 85-40 loss. Flores, who averages 6.3 rebounds per game, is also shooting 43 percent from the 3-point line. The Aggies scored 36 points in the paint against the Tigers, who went 2-for-11 from the 3-point line.
"It wasn’t fun, especially against a Texas team, one that I really wanted to go to. It was hard," said Flores, a native of San Antonio. "It was more of 'I wish I could help the team out.' That really killed me, especially to see us go down in that kind of way."
Flores said she doesn't want to sit on the bench any longer. Before Saturday, she had only missed three games for Missouri since the fall of 2008. That might help explain why she was not sitting with the other injured players on Saturday. Instead, she made sure to get a seat next to assistant coach Randy Norton, who talks to players coming off the court after substitutions.
"When I’m injured and out, I don’t like excluding myself," Flores said. "When people came out, I knew they were going to come to Coach Norton, so I made sure to sit right there so I could help them out, encourage them, pick them up because I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game,"
Wednesday, Missouri has the opportunity to beat Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., something no team has done this season. The Wildcats are 8-0 on their home court. If Flores does play, she will likely guard Kansas State forward Jalana Childs, who led the Wildcats with 15 points Saturday in a double-overtime loss to Texas Tech.