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Ohio State fans rejoiced Sunday as star guard Jacy Sheldon returned to the court for the Buckeyes in her first appearance since Nov. 30. And though the celebration was short-lived thanks to a blowout loss at the hands of Maryland, Sheldon’s return bodes well for Ohio State moving forward.
The point guard had been out with a lower-leg injury since she logged 39 minutes against Louisville on Nov. 30. The program didn’t provide specifics on her injury, but she spent time on the sidelines in a walking boot.
In her five games prior to the injury, Sheldon was averaging 16 points, 6 steals, 3.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists for the Buckeyes.
Other top teams, including UConn and Notre Dame, also have dealt with injuries as the 2022-23 campaign progresses.
Just Women’s Sports lays out the most notable injured players and, where possible, the timetables for their returns. Check back throughout the season for the latest developments.
Azzi Fudd, UConn
The sophomore exited her team’s game against Notre Dame on Dec. 4 after colliding with a teammate. While she returned after five weeks, she reinjured her knee in her second game back against Georgetown on Jan. 15. There is “no timeline” for her return, the team announced Jan. 19.
Fudd is no stranger to injuries, as the guard tore her ACL and MCL in high school, and then missed 11 games during her freshman season at UConn with a foot injury. Prior to her previous injury, Fudd led UConn with 20.6 points per game.
Bree Salenbien, Gonzaga
Gonzaga’s highest-ranked recruit in history played in 29 games in 2021-22, averaging nine minutes per game before suffering an ACL injury late in the season. She is expected to return for the Bulldogs, but no timetable has been given.
Kayleigh Truong, Gonzaga
The Gonzaga guard suffered a foot injury during a Battle 4 Atlantis contest against Tennessee on Nov. 21. It was originally thought to be a sprained ankle, but the team has not released specifics of the injury. She has been wearing a boot and walking with crutches.
The senior started five games for Gonzaga before her injury, averaging 9.4 points and 4.6 assists per game.
Dara Mabrey, Notre Dame
The fifth-year guard exited her team’s Jan. 22 win over Virginia with a knee injury. She came up with a steal just two minutes into the contest, then went down holding her knee after being fouled.
Soon after, Mabrey announced that she had torn her ACL, bringing an end to her season and her college career.
“While it certainly is not the way that I wanted to go out, I’m confident that everything happens for a reason,” Mabrey wrote in a social media post. “I know I will find peace with my situation as I recover in the coming months.
“I’m ready to continue to lead my team from the sideline. This team is special, and I can’t wait to see what we can do.”
Stephanie Soares, Iowa State
The 6-foot-6 forward tore the ACL in her left knee during a Jan. 8 loss to Oklahoma.
Soares had transferred to Iowa State from The Master’s University, an NAIA school. She twice won the NAIA Player of the Year award but also tore the same ACL ahead of the 2020-21 season.
In her final year of eligibility with the Cyclones she made her case as a WNBA prospect. She averaged 14.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game through 13 games.
“This was not how I expected my season to end, but I am thankful for the opportunities I have gotten at Iowa State,” Soares said in a statement.
Paige Bueckers, UConn
The UConn star tore her ACL in a pick-up game before the season started, and an MRI confirmed that the junior would miss the entire 2022-23 season. Bueckers quickly announced that she would be returning for her senior year and not entering the WNBA draft.
This is the second injury Bueckers has sustained during her time at UConn. Last season, she missed several months with a tibial plateau fracture that required surgery. She returned to lead the Huskies to the 2022 national championship game, where they lost to South Carolina.
Bueckers, the No. 1 recruit in 2020, was named the AP Player of the Year and the Naismith Player of the Year during her freshman campaign. Last season, she averaged 14.6 points, four rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.
Ice Brady, UConn
UConn’s bad injury luck also impacted the No. 5 recruit in the country. Brady is out for the year after suffering a non-contact injury in practice early in the season. She dislocated the patella in her right knee and underwent surgery in October.
Ayoka Lee, Kansas State
Like Bueckers, Lee watched her season end before it even began. The Kansas State center suffered a knee injury in August and underwent season-ending surgery. The senior said she will return to the Wildcats in 2023-24.
Lee has battled knee injuries for two seasons, and Kansas State initially thought they could do maintenance in the offseason to get their best player healthy enough to play.
The 6-foot-6 senior averaged 22 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest in 2021-22, setting the NCAA women’s single-game scoring record with 61 points against Oklahoma on Jan. 23.
Lauren Ware, Arizona
The junior forward, who helped Arizona to the national game as a freshman, is out for the season after injuring her knee in August.
Ware dislocated her patella in December 2021, but after missing four games she returned for the remainder of the 2021-22 calendar. She aggravated the injury during a practice in August, and while she tried to work her way back, she had season-ending surgery in November.
As a sophomore Ware started 24 of 25 games for Arizona, averaging 5.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest.
Madison Greene, Ohio State
With Sheldon out, Greene took over at point guard for Ohio State — until she went down with her own injury in a comeback win over USF on Dec. 20.
The redshirt junior fell to the floor holding her knee late in the fourth quarter. She left the court after several minutes and was unable to put weight on her left leg, and she will miss the rest of the season as a result of the injury.
Greene missed all of the 2021-22 season due to a knee injury that required surgery. This season, she appeared in 12 games, averaging 10.9 points and 5.0 assists per game.
Aaliyah Moore, Texas
The sophomore forward will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear, the Longhorns announced on Dec. 13.
The 6-1 forward left early in the team’s 107-54 win over Alabama State. She went down on a drive to the basket and was unable to put any weight on her leg as she left the floor.
Moore started all nine of Texas’ games before her injury, averaging 11.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest.
McKenna Warnock, Iowa
Iowa’s senior forward injured her rib cage early in her team’s win over Michigan State on Jan. 18. She missed the Hawkeyes’ next game, an upset win over previously unbeaten Ohio State, and coach Lisa Bluder said Warnock would be day-to-day.
The senior made her return on Feb. 2 as Iowa defeated Maryland 96-82.
Kayla McPherson, North Carolina
The redshirt freshman guard made her first appearance for the Tar Heels in a win over Clemson on Jan. 29, after suffering a lower body injury during practice in October. She spent last season rehabbing a knee injury sustained in high school, and the second injury was unrelated.
McPherson has played three games for the Tar Heels, and is averaging 9.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
Ashley Owusu, Virginia Tech
The guard returned to action in a win over Pitt on Thursday, January 19 after missing a month of games.
She left the Hokies’ win over Nebraska on Dec. 1 due to an injury to her shooting hand. Owusu had broken her pinkie finger and underwent surgery, coach Kenny Brooks told ESPN on Dec. 15.
The Maryland transfer was averaging 10.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists through her first seven games with the Hokies.
Rori Harmon, Texas
The Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2021-22 missed the first five games of the year for Texas with a foot injury. She was seen wearing a boot during the Longhorns’ season opener, and was day-to-day until returning to the lineup in a 74-50 win over Princeton on Nov. 27.
Diamond Miller, Maryland
Miller missed a chunk of last season with a knee injury, which is why the Terrapins faithful were concerned when she appeared to tweak the same knee in the team’s season opener against George Mason. Miller missed only one game — a loss to No. 1 South Carolina — before making her return.
Dorka Juhász, UConn
After breaking her thumb in an 83-76 win over Texas on Nov. 14, the UConn senior was expected to miss three games. She was sidelined for her team’s wins over NC State, Duke, Iowa and Providence as well as the loss to Notre Dame.
Juhász made her return in UConn’s win over Florida State on Dec. 18, finishing with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks and 4 assists.
Diamond Johnson, NC State
Johnson suffered an ankle injury on Dec. 11 as her team topped USF 65-57. The injury took place midway through the second quarter when she went up for a fast-break layup.
The junior guard returned on Jan. 5 from her four-game absence, contributing 18 points in a loss to Boston College.
Grace Berger, Indiana
“It felt really great, almost like surreal because it feels like it’s been forever since I played a game,” Berger said. “Definitely a little nervous and really anxious at first. I feel really fortunate that I had a chance to get back out there with a good bit of the season left.”
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