October 9, 2013 - 10:11am
BY LEV FACHER
After tearing her ACL prior to the Michigan women’s basketball team’s 2012-13 season, sophomore forward Kelsey Mitchell didn’t see game action during her freshman year.
She’s now in jeopardy of suffering the same fate this year, after injuring her foot while running laps during a preseason workout. She underwent surgery to repair the injury on Oct. 7 after an x-ray revealed a fracture.
Mitchell hasn’t seen action in NCAA competition, but she averaged 9.3 points and 10 rebounds in three games during Michigan’s summer tour of Europe.
Mitchell first hurt her foot during the European trip – the injury was initially thought to be less severe, but surgery became necessary once she re-injured the foot while running.
“You feel for her because she worked so hard to get healthy after tearing her ACL last year,” said Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico to MGoBlue.com. “She was going to really help us on the rebounding end this season. I know that she will work just as hard this time around to get back on the court.
“She’s a local kid, she’s a great kid,” Barnes Arico said. “That’s pretty tough.”
Losing players to injury is hardly an unfamiliar experience for Barnes Arico, who saw five players, including Mitchell, fall victim to torn ACLs last season.
Mitchell’s injury leaves the Wolverines with one less option at an already-depleted forward position. There are four other forwards on the roster, but only junior Cyesha Goree saw game action last year. Goree’s participation was extremely limited, too. She appeared in nine games, averaging 1.1 points and 2.7 minutes.
The other three forwards — redshirt senior Kendra Soto, senior Val Driscoll and sophomore Rebecca Lyttle — missed all of the 2012-13 season due to injuries.
“That took a toll on us,” Barnes Arico said, who cited inexperience as a concern leading into her second season as Michigan’s head coach. “We thought we were going to have everybody coming back into this season. We went to Europe with everyone healthy.”