The East Tennessee State women’s basketball team may have to play on without Destiny Mitchell.
Coach Brittney Ezell said Thursday that the senior forward could be looking at a redshirt season with a stress fracture in her leg. Mitchell hasn’t played since being injured in the opener at Memphis.
"We're going to make a call on her before the Kentucky game," said Ezell. "I don't mess around with a kid. If there's a chance Destiny could have a break or other problems, we won't play her.
"There could be worse things than having Destiny Mitchell for our first season back in the SoCon."
Ezell, who was in Texas on a recruiting trip, said Mitchell was cleared to do some workouts on Thursday and would be closely monitored.
The coach was hoping a second MRI last week would pave the way for Mitchell, a two-time All-Atlantic Sun Conference performer from Bluffton, Ga., to resume her basketball career. Instead, the results were inconclusive.
"It didn't show a whole lot of change," said Ezell. "The good news is it hasn't spread and hasn't run. We just want to see how she handles and responds to a few days of workouts. I'll be back tomorrow and we'll practice all weekend, so I'll have a good gauge by early next week."
The Lady Bucs dropped to 2-5 after a 92-71 loss at Vanderbilt on Tuesday night. They won’t play again until Dec. 15 at Kentucky.
Mitchell led the team in scoring (11.5) and rebounding (8.1) a year ago and currently stands just seven points shy of 1,000 for her career. She has averaged 8.7 rebounds, 52 percent shooting from the field and 74 percent from the foul line.
Mitchell started the season on a fairly typical note, with 15 points and 10 rebounds in a 77-74 overtime loss at Memphis. The Lady Bucs won without her at Appalachian State but have since lost four of their last five.
"The biggest alteration without Destiny is the mindset of the kids who are playing," said Ezell, who is in her first season at ETSU. "They're so reliant on her, looking to the sidelines for her to come back. It's a daily conversation, but I've told our kids we can't spend all our time wondering about what we don't have."