Injury not as bad as initially feared, but no timetable for Cox’s return
When Baylor power forward Lauren Cox went down in the third quarter of the National Championship game on Sunday, the Tampa crowd went silent and watched as she lay on the floor. The Lady Bears had been dominating the game against Notre Dame until that point, but that wasn’t what was first in everyone’s mind. Cox’s future was.
Cox was taken off the court in a wheelchair after the unfortunate contact with her own teammate. While she was able to return to the bench on crutches and cheer her team on to an 82-81 victory, the questions about her long-term prognosis were up in the air.
Baylor announced on Monday that the junior would not need surgery. The school said that Cox had been examined by Waco doctor Brad Gilliam of Southwest Sports Medicine Orthopedics, and he had diagnosed an MCL strain and bone bruise to her left leg after an MRI was performed. He did not, however, say when she would be able to return to basketball.
When the injury occurred, Cox had already scored eight points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three Fighting Irish shots while helping her team to a 62-50 lead. In her absence, Notre Dame was able to find more room to operate in the paint and started hitting from the outside to close the gap.
She averaged 13 points per game this season to go along with 3.7 assists, 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. Over her three years in Waco, she has put up 11.9 points, 2.6 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.
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After winning the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award for the second straight year, Cox was honored as a third-team selection on the USBWA and AP All-American teams. She also received an honorable mention nod from the WBCA.
The National Champion Lady Bears were a freshman and sophomore-laden team this season. They are set to lose only Kalani Brown and Chloe Jackson. Cox is on track to be one of only two seniors on the team next year.
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