"This is awful", "Terrific rookie season cut short": WNBA world saddened by Cameron Brink falling prey to ACL injury

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
WNBA and NBA fans react to news of rookie Cameron Brink tearing her ACL on Tuesday

LA Sparks rookie Cameron Brink suffered a torn ACL on Tuesday early in the Sparks' game against the Connecticut Sun. For Brink, the injury will not only force her to the sidelines indefinitely just 15 games into her WNBA season but also for the Olympics, where she was set to compete in 3-on-3 basketball.

This season, Brink has continued to impress on the defensive end, averaging 2.3 blocks per game, the third-most of any player in the W. Although the LA Sparks have struggled to find consistency and have won just four of 15 games, Brink's defense has been a bright spot for the team.

Apart from the rise in attendance the Sparks and the WNBA have seen this season, Brink's play on the defensive end of the floor has earned her widespread praise. Alongside Cierra Burdick, Rhyne Howard and Hailey Van Lith, Brink was set to compete for Team USA in the Olympics this summer.

Now, with the latest report that she will be sidelined indefinitely, Cameron Brink will be forced out of the Olympics. Whether or not the additional month to recover allows her to return before the end of the WNBA season, only time will tell.

The Sparks broke the news on social media:

"Forward Cameron Brink suffered a left torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the first quarter of Tuesday’s game at the Connecticut Sun. Additional details will be provided at a later date."

In the wake of the announcement, WNBA/NBA fans were quick to share their reactions:

"This is just awful" - One fan wrote
"Just gutting for Brink on so many levels - a terrific rookie season cut short, the building process for the Sparks, her impending Olympic 3x3 experience." - Another added

Others wished the rookie well in her recovery:

"So Damn SAD.. The strain on their bodies from college to pro and a mashed up season in the W for the olympics... So sad for Cam... Take my acl.. we love u Cameron" - One wrote
"All the best to her recovery." - Another added
"Ugh. Speedy recovery wishes." - One fan wrote

Others weighed in on how the injury will impact Cameron Brink going forward:

"Damn her season is over ffs. Pray she comes back stronger" - One wrote
"She will miss the rest of the season including Olympics and there's a possibility she misses some of next year as well." - Another suggested

How bad is an ACL tear in the WNBA? Cameron Brink's leg injury explained

On the heels of WNBA star Cameron Brink's ACL tear, the big question on the minds of fans is how soon she will be able to return. Interestingly enough, in 2020, a study was done by Henry Ford Health System and published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

A team of doctors and orthopedists led by Dr. Kelechi Okoroha studied how long it took female basketball players to return to the court. Moreover, the study also looked at how long it took those same athletes to return to their pre-injury levels of performance.

The study backed up previous studies that indicated female athletes have a higher rate of ACL injuries for a variety of reasons. From knee anatomy and joint laxity to hormonal factors, female basketball players are 2-7x more likely to suffer ACL injuries than men.

At the same time, the study also found that it takes female basketball players longer to return to peak form after ACL injuries. Dr. Okoroha concluded:

“In comparison, the WNBA players returned to competition at a lower rate (69.5%) than NBA players with similar injuries (88.9%) and their performance numbers were measuredly lower once they returned.”

Nevertheless, the female athletes who were a part of the study were back to playing basketball within seven months. The study found that in female players' first year back from ACL surgery, their minutes per game and points per game both saw a drop-off.

It wasn't until two years post-surgery that female players returned to form. Given that, it will be interesting to see how Cameron Brink's recovery progresses.

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Edited by Evan Bell
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