Two weeks before the Iowa women's basketball team plays its first exhibition, the Hawkeyes find themselves in familiar territory.
But familiarity doesn't ease the pain caused by two potentially season-ending injuries that have all-but-eliminated the depth in the Iowa backcourt.
Theairra Taylor underwent surgery at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on Thursday to repair her third ACL tear in 20 months and Trisha Nesbitt has suffered a partially ruptured plantar fascia in her right foot.
Both injuries occurred during preseason practices and both delivered a hit to the depth coach Lisa Bluder expected to enjoy in a veteran backcourt this season.
"We dealt with a tough season with injuries a year ago, so everybody on our teams knows how to deal with it, but it just hurts to see players go down,'' Bluder said. "I feel so bad for Theairra. She just can't seem to catch a break.''
Taylor, who averaged 8.1 points in the 10 games she played in a year ago, tore her left ACL during her final game of high school in St. Paul, Minn., in 2009. She tore her right ACL in a game against South Dakota State last December and had been cleared for a return to practices this fall.
The 5-foot-11 sophomore suffered her latest injury - a torn ACL and lateral meniscus in her left knee - during a workout this week and will miss the entire season.
Taylor played in too many games a year ago to qualify for a redshirt year, but Bluder said she will likely apply for a redshirt this season as she rehabilitates.
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"Our main thing right now is getting Theairra healthy again,'' Bluder said. "That's our focus.''
Nesbitt is the Hawkeyes' back-up point guard. The 5-7 sophomore averaged 2.5 points a year ago, playing in all 34 of Iowa's games.
She will remain in a cast for at least four weeks, before spending time in either a walking boot or another cast depending on how rapidly the injury heals. Bluder said she is not optimistic about Nesbitt returning this season.
"It will be a bonus if she is able to get back,'' Bluder said.
The injuries have left Iowa with four healthy guards, including returning starters Kachine Alexander, Jaime Printy and Kamille Wahlin. Hannah Draxten, who played in four games last year before missing the rest of the season with a back injury, is the lone reserve.