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NCAA basketball injuries: Texas’ Rori Harmon out for the season

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Rori Harmon drives past Courtney Blakely on December 13, 2023 at McKale Center in Tucson, AZ. (Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

No. 5 Texas’ Rori Harmon is out for the remainder of the season with an ACL tear, per a release from Texas Athletics. 

Harmon tore her ACL in practice on Dec. 27 and she did not play in that evening’s contest against Jackson State. 

The junior guard was named Big 12 preseason player of the year and she averaged 14.1 points and 7.8 assists per game in her 12 games played. 

“I’m grateful for the support of my teammates and coaching staff during this difficult time,” Harmon said in the press release. “I also want to thank our medical staff at Texas for taking care of me. I’m heartbroken that I won’t be able to play with my teammates this season, but I’m going to support them and be the best teammate I can be.”

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, 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.

Destinee Wells, Tennessee 

Tennessee senior point guard Destinee Wells is out for the rest of the season with a lower right leg injury, the program announced Tuesday.

A transfer from Belmont, Wells was seen with a brace on her right leg during the team’s win over Wofford. The news of her season-ending injury came on the same night senior forward Rickea Jackson returned from injury. Wells played in just 10 games this season.

Head coach Kelli Harper, who dealt with ACL tears twice in her playing career at Tennessee, understands well the pain of season-ending injuries. So she knows it will “be hard throughout the year” for Wells, who had averaged 6.8 points, 3.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 22.4 minutes per game.

Gianna Kneepkens, Utah

The star guard will miss the rest of the season after breaking multiple bones in her foot, the school announced on Dec. 4. An All-Pac-12 player and the team’s second-leading scorer, Kneepkens was injured late against BYU on Dec. 2 and had to be helped off the floor.

Utah head coach Lynne Roberts called Kneepkens’ injury a “blow to our program,” which is ranked No. 11 in the country at 7-1 as of Dec. 14.

“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,” Roberts said. “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.”

Ayanna Patterson, UConn

UConn lost one more player for the season, as Ayanna Patterson was announced to miss the remainder of the season following knee surgery.

Patterson had not appeared in a game this season for the Huskies. Last season, she played 30 games, averaging just over two points and two rebounds. Head coach Geno Auriemma said the surgery was to address patellar tendinitis that Patterson has dealt with since high school.

Emily Bessoir, UCLA 

No. 2 UCLA’s Emily Bessoir is out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury. The senior injured the same ACL that sidelined her for the entirety of the 2021-2022 season while she was playing in the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2025 qualifiers for her native Germany.

While Bessoir has played in just one game for the Bruins this season due to her international duties, she appeared in all 37 games last season and she was selected to the Pac-12 All-Tournament team.

“I’m just heartbroken for Emily, for her and for us,” head coach Cori Close told the Associated Press. “She’s been such a steady leader for us and she had so many things going for her this year. I look forward to seeing how this is going to be part of her conquering story.”

Out with injury but expected to return

Olivia Miles, Notre Dame

Miles injured her knee in the Irish’s 2023 regular season finale. She was sidelined during the ACC Tournament and has remained so into this season. Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey provided a look into Miles’ recovery via Instagram, where she posted a video of Miles shooting around, though there remains no timetable for her return to action.

“She’s doing a lot of great workouts, and so just wanted to kind of just highlight her because she is she’s doing really, really well,” Ivey said to ABC 57. “She’s in great spirits, her knee looks really good.”

Caroline Ducharme, UConn

The junior guard played in No. 17 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.

“Don’t ask me how long, because I wish I knew,” Auriemma told ESPN. “You don’t know when they’re coming and you don’t know how long they’re going to last. We just keep trying and trying and trying. . . I feel terrible for the kid.”

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

Rickea Jackson, Tennessee

Jackson, who had been out of Tennessee’s lineup since Nov. 13 with a lower leg injury, returned to the court on Dec. 19.

“She steps on the court and she changes things,” Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “Her presence affects them when they step on the court. She gives them great confidence.”