Tuck tears ACL during USA U16 trials

Originally diagnosed as a sprain, Tuck, one of 2012 class' best, learns it's much worse

Originally Published: June 3, 2009
By Mindi Rice and Chris Hansen | HoopGurlz

Morgan Tuck, one of the top 2012 players in the country, has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, her mother confirmed Wednesday.

The ESPN RISE Freshman of the Year will return home to Bolingbrook, Ill., Thursday from Colorado Springs, Colo., to see a local doctor and make plans for treatment. Tuck is expected to be among the top three in her class, with a shot at being No. 1.

Morgan Tuck
Glenn Nelson/ESPN.comMorgan Tuck sits out with her leg in a compression sleeve at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

"It's a blow; it's definitely a blow for her," said Lydia Tuck, Morgan's mother, when reached by phone on Wednesday. "She really wanted this so very bad. I think the girls as well as the staff are trying to keep her spirits up. We told her, as we told all the girls during the trials, try to enjoy this for what it is."

Tuck has an appointment scheduled for Friday. Her parents have consulted with two doctors in their area who are now in communication with Dr. David Walden, the orthopedic doctor on staff with USA Basketball.

"We'll go in and see what [the doctors here] say," Lydia Tuck said. "We're trying to get the best help we can in our area to get Morgan back healthy again."

Morgan Tuck sustained the injury during Saturday morning's scrimmages for the USA Basketball U16 trials at the Olympic Training Center. Tuck sat out Saturday evening and Sunday morning's workouts with a compression sleeve and, later, tape on her knee after the injury was initially diagnosed as a sprain.

As a precaution after the injury, an MRI was scheduled for late Monday. Results returned Tuesday showed a tear in the ACL.

"Her parents called me right after she went down," Bolingbrook coach Anthony Smith said. "That was actually my wakeup call Saturday. ... I'm being optimistic, hoping that when she gets back from Colorado and has a second opinion, maybe it won't be as bad."

Tuck's parents, David and Lydia, attended the trials along with Morgan's older sister, Taylor, and were in the audience when Morgan injured her knew on a play where she blocked a shot by Megan Buckland during a scrimmage.

[+] EnlargeMorgan Tuck
Chris Hansen/ESPN.com Kinesio taping was one of two treatments used to reduce the swelling in Morgan Tuck's knee.

The scrimmage was moved to another court while staff attended to Tuck. After about five minutes, she got up with assistance and was walked over to the trainer's area. Lisa Hardy of Western Michigan, the trainer for the U16 team, had Tuck wearing a compression stocking that looked similar to fishnet for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, then switched to Kinesio taping Sunday afternoon. The Kinesio taping method, designed to curtail swelling, got international attention during the Beijing Olympics when athletes, including USA beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh, wore it during competition.

"When I did it I wasn't actually thinking about 'I hurt my knee,' I was thinking I might not make the team if I get hurt," Tuck said Sunday. "So I think that was the first thing that came to my mind so it wasn't really the knee. But then I talked to some people and started thinking about if it's like really hurt, then the summer and then the season for next year."

Tuck missed about 10 days during her freshman season at Bolingbrook with a right-knee sprain that she sustained during a November game against eventual national champion Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.). The Tuck family is consulting with different doctors for Morgan's latest injury than those who treated her November injury.

"We were hoping it would have just been a sprain and it seemed to be, every day with their treatment it was getting a little better," Lydia Tuck said. "It was not the diagnosis we wanted, but our concern is making sure Morgan gets healthy."

Tuck was the first freshman to be named Ms. Basketball in Illinois and helped lead Bolingbrook to a No. 3 final ranking in the ESPN Rise poll. Her 2011 Bolingbrook teammate, Ariel Massengale, also made the U16 team.

How Tuck's injury affects the makeup of the USA U16 team was not immediately known. USA Basketball communications manager Jenny Maag said Sunday that the 22 trial participants not initially selected all would be considered to replace Tuck if she was unable to participate. Bashaara Graves of Clarksville, Tenn., a 6-2 forward from the 2012 class, is filling in for Tuck as the national team practices this week but is not officially considered an alternate.

USA Basketball plans to make an announcement about Tuck and her spot on the team Thursday morning.

Chris Hansen's Evaluation of Morgan Tuck at the U16 Trials:

A player coming into trials with high expectations was Bolingbrook's Morgan Tuck, who was diagnosed on Tuesday night with an ACL tear. The 6-1 forward started out a little timid and it looked like the tremendous length on the court was too much for the budding star. Wrong. She warmed during the middle of the trials and had about as dominant a two-session run as any of the front court players. She showed good finishing touch with both hands and she did it in consecutive possessions to show everyone that it was far from luck but what can happen when she's in attack mode and you guard her one-on-one. Just when she was taking off she fell to the floor with another player and injured her left knee and was unable to participate in the final three sessions.

Click Here for More ESPN HoopGurlz Evaluations of Morgan Tuck

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Mindi Rice is a National High School / ESPN HoopGurlz staff writer. She previously was an award-winning sportswriter at the Tacoma News Tribune and a barista at Starbucks, and grew up in Seattle, where she attended Roosevelt High School before graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism. She can be reached at mindi@hoopgurlz.com.

Chris Hansen is the National Director of Prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college-basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a Communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high-school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. Hansen can be reached at chris.hansen@espn3.com.