Andraya Carter's troublesome right shoulder didn't leave her with much of a choice.
After suffering injuries to the shoulder in three of Tennessee's last four women's basketball games, the Lady Vols freshman point guard consulted with her family and decided to undergo surgery. She will have the shoulder repaired this morning and miss the rest of the season.
"She could still play this year with the hope that (the shoulder) didn't go out," Warlick said on Wednesday, "but it came out twice in two games fairly easily. So it was their decision that if she could get a redshirt year, or a hardship year that they would do that."
UT will apply for a medical hardship for Carter, who first suffered an injury to the shoulder during her senior season at Buford (Ga.) High School. Warlick said that Carter is under the limit in terms of games played this season.
"It was something we tried to avoid," Warlick said. " ... It just kept popping out and it's something we had to do."
No. 13 Tennessee (6-1) returns from exam break to play at No. 18 Texas on Sunday. The Lady Vols play at No. 3 Baylor on Tuesday before returning home to face top-ranked Stanford on Dec. 22.
Carter had started Tennessee's first five games while Ariel Massengale recovered from tendinitis in her left Achilles tendon. Carter was averaging 20.6 minutes per game.
She first suffered an injury to the shoulder this season with two minutes left in a 79-67 victory at Miami on Nov. 18. She went out with 7:35 left in an 88-81 overtime victory over Middle Tennessee State on Nov. 28. Despite wearing a sleeve to protect the shoulder, Carter played just five minutes of a 102-57 rout of North Carolina on Dec. 2, departing with eight seconds left in the first half.
Carter's surgery leaves Tennessee with nine players available for the Texas road trip. Although fellow guard Jasmine Phillips returned to practice Wednesday and will travel with the team, Warlick said that the sophomore won't play in Texas. Phillips missed the last two games while getting her academics in order.
Warlick said senior Kamiko Williams and junior Meighan Simmons will assist Massengale at point guard. Since Simmons already starts and is Tennessee's leading scorer, Carter's absence creates a bigger opportunity for Williams.
"If she wants to go out with a bang her senior year, she can step in and get some major minutes," Warlick said. "We need her. We're counting on her because we saw what she can do in the Middle Tennessee State game."
Williams was instrumental to the comeback victory with key steals and baskets at the end of regulation and in overtime.
"When you see her do those type of things, that's why you have to keep holding her accountable every time she steps on the court," Warlick said.
Summitt Honored: UT head coach emeritus Pat Summitt, who stepped down last April after 38 seasons, has been selected as the 2013 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women's College Basketball Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced.
The award is presented annually to individuals whose efforts have created a long-lasting positive impact on the game of basketball.