TUPELO – La’Devin Allen woke up early Tuesday morning with his arm on fire.
It was around 1:45 a.m. when Tupelo firefighters responded to Allen’s house on West Bristow Drive. By that point, Allen had thrown himself through a window to escape the fire and smoke. As a result, he suffered a laceration on his head and a more serious one on his right arm.
Allen is a senior starting point guard for Tupelo’s basketball team. The Golden Wave played a game Tuesday night as Allen lay in a hospital bed in Memphis.
“Our goal is to play for him, just put the effort that he puts out there,” coach Jeff Norwood said.
According to a press release from the City of Tupelo, there was a downed power line in the back yard when firefighters arrived. Allen was taken to the North Mississippi Medical Center and underwent surgery on his right arm, and then he was transported to Memphis for treatment of third-degree burns.
Norwood said Allen had two surgeries on his arm Tuesday and was on breathing tubes due to smoke inhalation. He was alone in the house when the fire started.
Allen underwent a third surgery on Wednesday, using nerves from his legs to help repair his arm.
“He’s a fighter,” Norwood said. “He showed that getting out of the house. It was a dire situation.”
Replacing Allen on the floor will be a group effort. Norwood said freshman Deondre Hampton, senior Tahj Crump and senior Josh King will all help fill the point guard role.
That trio combined for 20 points in Tuesday’s 77-62 win against Booneville.
Allen was averaging 9.6 points and 4.0 assists per game.
Norwood said he will be monitoring his players as they emotionally process what happened to Allen.
“I talked to them earlier today just about focusing on what your job is,” he said. “But that’s what kind of separates people, is being able to concentrate on what your job is. If they can’t, they can’t.”
The school is raising money for Allen and his family. Norwood said they lost everything in the blaze, including a car.
More than $2,000 was raised or donated at Tuesday’s game.
“It’s a tough situation in the merry season, when it’s supposed to be cheerful,” Norwood said. “He’s worked so hard to get to his senior year, and now he’s not going to be able to play. But at least he’s able to live. There is a blessing in that.”