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NCAA basketball injuries: Utah star out with broken foot

Gianna Kneepkens is out for the season with a broken foot. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

While Rickea Jackson has been out of No. 20 Tennessee’s lineup since Nov. 13, when she was listed as day-to-day with a lower leg injury, No. 11 Utah lost starting guard Gianna Kneepkens to a season-ending broken foot on Saturday.

Jackson has been seen at games with a boot on her foot, and Volunteers head coach Kellie Harper did not offer an update on Jackson’s condition prior to her squad’s loss to Notre Dame on Nov. 29.

“We’re still in the same situation where each and every day is the day we’re going to be evaluating her,” Harper told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “Each day is different. So, literally, I’ll walk in today and find out what she’s doing today. I know (the boot) was definitely off some.”

The story remained the same at practice on Dec. 1. The continued absence of the fifth-year-guard is a blow to Tennessee, as she is a key piece to the lineup and a projected first-round pick in the 2024 WNBA draft. Last season, she averaged 19.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, but she has played just two games this season.

Just Women’s Sports is tracking injuries to key players throughout the NCAA season and, when possible, outlining the timetables for their returns.

Out for the season

Azzi Fudd, UConn

Fudd is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and a torn meniscus in her right knee. She played just two games before injuring her knee in practice. Fudd is the second Huskies player in two years to miss the majority of the season with an ACL tear, following Paige Bueckers’ lost season in 2022-23.

Sa’Myah Smith, LSU

Smith will miss the rest of the season for No. 7 LSU with tears to the ACL, MCL and meniscus in her right knee. Smith’s injury occurred early in the Tigers’ Nov. match with Niagara on Nov. 24. Smith, who appeared in just seven games this season, will be given a redshirt for the remainder of this season and will be able to get this year of eligibility back, per LSU Athletics.

Gianna Kneepkens, Utah

Utah star guard Gianna Kneepkens has broken multiple bones in her foot and will miss the rest of the season, the school announced on Monday.

An All-Pac-12 player and the team’s second-leading scorer, Kneepkens was injured late against BYU last Saturday and had to be helped off the floor. She met with doctors on Monday afternoon to explore the timeline for her surgery.

Utah head coach Lynne Roberts called it a “blow to our program,” which is ranked No. 11 in the country at 7-1 as of Dec. 5.

 “Something we all have taken in [during] the last 36 hours to kind of digest, but that is why we have been talking about our depth and I believe in this team,” she said, noting that Kneepkens is “struggling” with the injury.

“If there is a kid that eats, sleeps and breathes basketball, it is her. But this is part of life. Life can stink sometimes. This is going to be a process for her that she is going to have to push through. She has got a group of teammates and coaches who love her. She will be all right. It is still a little raw. The fact that the season is over for her, she is still working through that.”

Out with injury but expected to return

Hannah Stuelke, Iowa

Stuelke arrived at No. 5 Iowa’s game against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 25 with her right ankle wrapped after she appeared to slip during the Hawkeyes’ game against Purdue Fort Wayne on Nov. 24. Stuelke has been listed as day-to-day since the injury, and while it is unlikely that she’ll play Saturday against Bowling Green, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder alluded to a possible return to the lineup for the sophomore forward.

“I don’t think she’ll be back for this weekend. Hopefully for the Iowa State, but that has yet to be determined,” Bluder told Hawkeye Report. “She is doubtful for this week. … I’m not going to go into the exact injury. It’s just not my place to talk about the personal injuries of our players.”

Caroline Ducharme, UConn

The junior guard played in No. 11 UConn’s first four games this season but she has been out since Nov. 19 with neck and back spasms. Ducharme has dealt with concussion issues in past seasons. On Dec. 1, head coach Geno Auriemma could not provide a timeline for her return to the team.

Avery Strickland, Tennessee

Strickland has been sidelined since Nov. 13 as she goes through concussion protocol. Strickland has missed four games so far, the most recent being the Vols’ matchup with Notre Dame on Nov. 29. There is still no timetable for her return.

Sonia Citron, Notre Dame

Citron sustained an injury to her leg in the third quarter of the Irish’s game against Northwestern on Nov. 15. The junior guard needed help to return to the locker room after she was injured.

Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey had announced that Citron was dealing with a sprained knee and would be out for just a couple of weeks. But on Nov. 28, Ivey said Citron would need a few more weeks of recovery before she could return to the court.

Returned to the court

Jasmine Powell, Tennessee

Powell also did not play in the Vols’ game against Troy. She was seen with a brace on her right arm, as reported by the Knoxville News Sentinel. Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper did not provide a timeline for the senior point guard’s return.