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Brittney Griner Injury: What Freak Accident Means for Her Pro Basketball Career

DENVER, CO - APRIL 03:  Brittney Griner #42 of the Baylor Bears celebrates late in the second half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the National Final game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at Pepsi Center on April 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2012

Brittney Griner recently suffered a broken wrist, and it’s an injury that could have a negative impact on her pro career.

Griner, The Associated Press’ women’s college basketball Player of the Year, recently chose to stay for one more year at Baylor instead of going pro.

That decision could now backfire.

Griner broke her wrist in a freak longboarding accident and will reportedly be in a cast for up to four weeks.

Griner had already declined to play in the 2012 Olympics as a member of the U.S. women’s basketball team, something that didn’t help her pro career stock either. Add in a wrist injury and another full season at Baylor and things aren’t looking good.

Last season Griner led the Baylor Bears to their first 40-win season and a National Championship victory. It was the perfect scenario for Griner to make the leap to the pros without any issues.

She was simply dominant while leading the Bears, averaging 23 points per game, 9.5 rebounds and a jaw-dropping five blocks per game.

While the broken wrist is something that is said to heal in four weeks, it’s something pro teams and fans should be concerned about. A wrist injury is something that can be very restrictive in basketball because of the nature of the sport.

Outside of the fact Griner is missing over a month of practice time, the physicality with which she plays the game could cause her to re-injure the wrist with some regularity.

DENVER, CO - APRIL 03:  Brittney Griner #42 of the Baylor Bears blocks a shot attempt in the seocnd half by Kayla McBride #23 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the National Final game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at Pe
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Griner is a dominant force that works in the middle of the court, blocking shots and grabbing rebounds, but that physicality could cause her to injure the wrist again.  

Teams also now have to question Griner’s decision-making at this juncture in her career. For a star college player coming off a National Championship, one would think Griner wouldn’t take any risks that could jeopardize her senior year or pro career.

But she did just that.

College athletes shouldn’t be restricted from living life. But longboarding? There’ s a clear injury risk there and that lack of judgment is something Griner put on display with this incident.

In the end, if Griner can stay healthy she’ll likely still be the dominant force with the Bears next season and end up the highest pick in the WNBA draft.

As long as this freak accident doesn’t lead to any recurring problems with her wrist, this could turn out to be simply a small blemish on an otherwise outstanding career. 

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