Originally published February 13, 2012 at 01:12p.m., updated February 14, 2012 at 12:00a.m.

Carolyn Davis to miss rest of season with dislocated knee, torn ACL

Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson holds the hand of forward Carolyn Davis after Davis injured her knee just minutes into the first half on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, in Manhattan.

Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson holds the hand of forward Carolyn Davis after Davis injured her knee just minutes into the first half on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, in Manhattan.


Kansas University women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson has said throughout the season that freshman forward Chelsea Gardner reminds her of a younger Carolyn Davis.

Now, Henrickson — KU’s the eighth-year coach — will get to see how much.

Early Monday afternoon, Henrickson announced that Davis, a junior forward from Houston who led KU in scoring (17.5 points per game) and ranked in the top five nationally in field-goal percentage (60.2), would miss the rest of the 2011-12 season after suffering a dislocated left knee and torn anterior cruciate ligament during the early minutes of Sunday’s 47-43 loss at Kansas State.

When the Jayhawks play at Iowa State on Wednesday, the 6-foot-3 Gardner will start in Davis’ spot. Until then, Henrickson and crew will spend every waking minute trying to come up with a plan for moving on without their All-Big-12-caliber forward.

“We have other games that we have to tend to, and we have to figure out how we’re gonna work around this and just come together as a team,” senior forward Aishah Sutherland said. “We have talented people on this team. Carolyn was in the spotlight, but now we have other people that can come into the spotlight, and we’re going to have be more of a play-with-everybody type team.”

The Jayhawks did that well Sunday, using scrappy defense and pride to take K-State to the wire. Henrickson said a similar approach would be a big part of the recipe to play without Davis, but also talked about the need for individuals not named Angel Goodrich to elevate their games.

“We can’t sit here and ask Chelsea to be Carolyn Davis overnight,” Henrickson said. “We’ve gotta get more out of (junior guard) Monica (Engelman). (Freshman guard) Natalie (Knight) has to be more aggressive. Aishah needs to be who she was in that second half (Sunday) more consistently. And honestly we gotta get more out of (freshman guard) Asia Boyd.”

Boyd, the highest-rated recruit during Henrickson’s time at Kansas, did not play during Sunday’s loss, in which the Jayhawks scored a season-low 43 points without their leading scorer. Henrickson said that would change in the near future.

“We’ve gotta get her on the floor and let her work a little bit, because at least she has an aggressive mind-set,” Henrickson said.

As for Davis’ role in all of this, Henrickson expects her star forward to go above and beyond what’s required in helping her team cope with life without her. In many ways, that started Sunday night when the Jayhawks (17-7 overall, 6-6 Big 12) visited Davis in the hospital. Her support continued into Monday and doesn’t figure to stop any time soon.

“She sent me a text with a thumbs up and a smiley face,” Henrickson said Monday. “She’s trying to help us, and that speaks to her. That’s who she is.”

Added Gardner: “Reality set in today when I saw that she was not here at practice. I really don’t know the effect it’s having on her, but she wanted to motivate us as a team and just told us to keep going.”


Jeff Coffman 7 years, 11 months ago

She is a Junior. I don't know if they would grant another year of elgibility for medical reasons (I doubt it).

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 11 months ago

She is a Junior. I don't know if they would grant another year of elgibility for medical reasons (I doubt it).

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 11 months ago

my error, I clicked it and wasn't paying attention, clicked it again a couple of times.

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 11 months ago

She is a Junior. I don't know if they would grant another year of elgibility for medical reasons (I doubt it).

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 11 months ago

Carolyn...just remember that Brandon Rush tore his ACL and the following year, KU had a magical season...come back stronger and better, next year in your Senior season.

kubiggestfan 7 years, 11 months ago

Thoughts and Prayers are with you as you embark upon your road to recovery. Get well soon and most of all don't rush it.

Evan Ridenour 7 years, 11 months ago

KU women's basketball can't catch a break. Seems like every year at least one of the key players is lost to a season ending injury.

big12ku 7 years, 11 months ago

God bless you, Carolyn. Stay strong and you'll be back in no time. All is not lost, though Lady Hawks. This team has been guard deep (at least for the last two years). HCBH get Harper in the starting lineup and let's see what her, Goodrich and Sutherland can do. Run your undeveloped bench in and out of the rotation utilizing their strengths (special teams) and let's finish the season strong. RCJH Go KU!

KEITHMILES05 7 years, 11 months ago

More women athletes than men tear their knee ligaments. Weird.

Ted Adams 7 years, 11 months ago

It's a proven fact that the reason for this is that women have wider displacement of the hips (childbearing). This leads to a poor alignment of the femur with the lower leg. This in turn puts added pressure on the ligaments in the knee. One misstep or severe angle cut off a plant of the foot, and Bingo! Torn ligaments.

Calijhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

That is because women's hips tend to be wider, and the resulting angle of their femur on the tibia (knee joint) makes it more likely that the joint will slip and/or rotate, tearing the ACL.

sevenyearhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

yup, came here to say something like that ...

There's conditioning that's supposed to address this - seems like I read or saw that somewhere.

toots_mom 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh, ouch! My sympathies are with her . Knee problems are not nice.

actorman 7 years, 11 months ago

Such a shame. This team just can't buy a break.

KU_cynic 7 years, 11 months ago

I don't blame it on Bonnie. Blame it on the NCAA and the idea that women have to play as many games (and therefore endure as many practices) as men, all in the name of gender equity.

I highly recommend Michael Sokolove's book, Warrior Girls: Protecting Our Daughters Against the Injury Epidemic in Women's Sports. Young women's bodies just aren't built for the stresses and strains of a six-month season of athletic stress that basketball (or soccer) entails. The high number of injuries that women basketball players have endured in recent years at KU is exemplary of that.

If the NCAA really cared about women's welfare, the women's basketball season would have half as many games and practices and be confined to a single academic semester so that the women athletes could really concentrate on their studies in the off-season semester. KU women could raise that mediocre 2.85 team GPA from the fall 2011 semester, for example.

MorganR 7 years, 11 months ago

My sincere condolences Ms. Davis. I wish you a speedy recovery.

seagull 7 years, 11 months ago

KU_Cynic makes an interesting point. Add to that Bonnie's starters have to play about 38 minutes per game and you have even a more stressful situation. It is too bad. The team is much improved this year and Carolyn is such a big part of that.

kubiggestfan 7 years, 11 months ago

Bonnie's starters do not have to play that many minutes, she has players that seem to come there with loads of talent only for it to get lost in her system. I can recall several players that just rotted on Ku bench that could have been major players on this team. Do you think the two players that recently departed left because they loved sitting when they shouldn't have? I have said over and over, develop all players so when things like this happen, the cupboard would not be bare. The same happened with danielle and Angel in the past putting the bench at a major disadvantage. Guards need to be able to use their speed for easy transition buckets. How many times does that happen? Waiting for Angel to come from half court to start the offense is not the answer. Allowing the other guards to start the break could help this teams chances. Gotta do something different now. Btw, several of the starters are not 30+ minute players, no offense but let's keep it real. I still hope the ladies can make it to the ncaa tourney but we must first change some things.

kustretch 7 years, 11 months ago

They do? Really? The starters play 38 min a game? Not. Angel is the only KU player in the top 10 in the conf for minutes played. Angel does avg 36 min per game, i think we all know why. Lets not create drama....Carolyn didn't injure her knee because she plays too much. She had contact with a player and landed oddly.....thats it. No further analysis needed.

no_fan 7 years, 11 months ago

First off I would like to say I hate that Carolyn was injured and hoping for a full recovery and come back next year strong as ever!

kustretch, I do not believe kubiggestfan is creating drama. He/She is just making a point that HCBH does not manage the players/talent she has on this team (who is remaining) well and wasted talent is sitting on the bench. These young ladies are only human. I remember last year when Angel came back from her injuries she immediately played Angel the entire games instead of slowly transitioning her back into the lineup. Angel went out again. Keena Mays as a freshman stepped up and carried the team to undefeated pre-season at the pg position. Then upon Angel's return Mays was benched and minutes cut short. As a top athlete how do you think Mays felt, then this year HCBH start a freshman who is not contributing over the upper classmen. Again, this is a team that EVERY PLAYER should be getting minutes. Now, they are in a situation where they are short players. CeCe and Tania are the only players with experience, HCBH is putting these other players in a position to instantly step up and produce. What if Angel goes out? A good Coach prepares ALL players to be ready. No other person can dribble, run a fast break. Pay attention to other good programs at times their post get a rebound, dribble, kick it out to ANY guard, sometimes their post dribble coast to coast.

kustretch 7 years, 11 months ago

What is this, elementary school? Everyone should play? Thats what early season games are for....not the BIG 12! You play your best. Coaching staffs work to improve everyone's skill set in practice and where possible game settings. But you ALWAYS put your best on the floor. Whoever gives u the best chance to win is who u play!
Moody played 69 of 80 minutes last week for Iowa State....Why? Because she gives that team the BEST chance to win! Look at the Big 10....Ohio State, ranked 9th this week is 22-3. Prahalis and Hill play 36 and 37 minutes a game! Why? Gives them the best chance to win! Believe me, I watch "other programs". Really not trying to be argumentative. KU needs to focus on everyone elevating their games...its that simple.

Chuck Woodling 7 years, 11 months ago

How rare is a dislocated knee? In all the years I covered KU athletics, I can remember only one other. A football player named John Odell suffered a DK in 1978. Odell was fortunate he didn't have nerve damage — 33 percent of DKs do — and yet Odell was never able to play football again. Hopefully, Davis didn't suffer nerve damage and that the rehab process for DLs has improved markedly in the last 34 years. Keep your fingers crossed.

MinnesotaJay 7 years, 11 months ago

Very sorry to hear, Carolyn. Wishing you the best in recovery. You'll bounce back from this.

rockwall 7 years, 11 months ago

Pictures were brutal. Wish her the best. I was surprise there wasn't blood vessel and bone damage as well. What the medical field can do today is amazing hope some miracles are coming her way.

kustretch 7 years, 11 months ago

Best wishes for a full recovery! We won't say speedy, because she doesn't need that. She needs to heal and something tells me she'll be back next year stronger than ever...Look at Angel....been through this twice! The team will have to play the cards they have been dealt. Need everyone to elevate their game now to fill that void. They can do it.

Cody Stumma 7 years, 11 months ago

Here's to hoping for a quick and speedy recovery Carolyn!

JManTheChamp 7 years, 11 months ago

Get well soon! Thanks for the good season so far.

JayHawkFanToo 7 years, 11 months ago

Our thought and prayer are with you Carolyn. Have a prompt and successful recovery; the Jayhawk Nation is rooting for you.

dragonwagon2 7 years, 11 months ago

All our best wishes to out to Carolyn and the KU Women's team. This is a huge loss, but doesn't have to be a devastating one. Rock Chalk!

jayhawker_97 7 years, 11 months ago

this sucks! not for KU, but she's just a gifted player, i hope she'll recover soon. as for our team, fight on! just keep playing hard, there's no more time left. rock chalk!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.