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Based on the latest prognosis, Tennessee might have to play the SEC women’s basketball tournament without Isabelle Harrison.
UT coach Holly Warlick described the 6-foot-3 center Wednesday as “doubtful” for the event. Tennessee (23-6) opens play Friday (TV: SportSouth, noon) at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga., facing the Florida-Arkansas first-round winner.
Harrison missed six games after undergoing surgery on Feb. 1 to address the lateral meniscus in her left knee. She contributed 10 points and four rebounds last Thursday to an 82-72 victory over Texas A&M, which clinched the SEC regular-season championship. But the sophomore suffered a right knee injury in the second half after jumping to catch a pass and landing awkwardly. She sat out Sunday’s 78-65 loss at Kentucky.
Harrison was riding a stationary bike while the team practiced Wednesday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
“I think they’re still evaluating her knee and I’m not sure to be quite honest,” Warlick said. “I think she’s doubtful for this weekend. That’s my understanding.”
While Harrison remained sidelined, guards Kamiko Williams and Ariel Massengale both practiced. On Sunday, Williams tweaked her right ankle, which had been sprained last month, and injured her left ankle — all on the same play. But she returned to the game and has practiced this week.
Massengale suffered a right knee injury last Thursday, and it appeared to be the most serious of all. She crumpled to the floor in pain during the second half against Texas A&M. Yet, the 5-foot-6 sophomore thought that she was fine by Friday morning, even before undergoing an MRI exam. She started against Kentucky and played 34 minutes.
“I still honestly don’t know what happened Thursday night,” Massengale said, “But everything came back (fine). (The knee) is intact. It’s good. Swelling’s gone. Ready to roll.”
Massengale conceded to being scared initially after going down.
“The fact that I had never been hurt before, especially with it being a knee and so many things that happen so often in the women’s game,” she said. “Everything kind of flashes in front of your eyes in a moment like that.
“So I was thankful we were able to get that win and finish it up. I’m glad to be back on the court with my teammates.”
Notebook: Earlier on Wednesday, Warlick visited the girls’ state tournament in Murfreesboro.
She attended a Class AAA quarterfinal game between Murfreesboro Riverdale and Brentwood. UT is recruiting Riverdale junior guard Alexa Middleton.
Dan Fleser covers Tennessee women’s basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/FleserKNS and http;//blogs.knoxnews.com/fleser.