McCarville breaks hand bone in practice

Aaron Blake

Minnesota’s women’s basketball team will be without Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year Janel McCarville for up to four weeks after the senior broke the third metacarpal bone in her left hand in practice Thursday.

Coach Pam Borton said McCarville was participating in one of the Gophers’ usual drills when she lost her footing and caught her fall in an awkward manner.

Borton said the four-week time frame appeared to be “a conservative estimate” after an initial evaluation. A second evaluation will take place today to confirm the injury.

“You never want any of your kids to get injured, but that’s just the nature of the sport,” Borton said. “It might as well be before the Big Ten season or any of the important games.”

McCarville’s setback comes just more than two weeks before the Gophers begin their regular season Nov. 14 at the WBCA Classic in Seattle. The four-week estimate means she could return by the time the Gophers hold the Subway Classic on Nov. 19 – Nov. 20 at Williams Arena.

The third metacarpal bone is between the middle finger knuckle and the wrist in the middle of the hand.

Lindsay Whalen led the Gophers to the Final Four last season after breaking the same bone – along with the fourth metacarpal bone in her right hand – in Columbus, Ohio, against Ohio State on Feb. 12.

Whalen was healthy enough to return for the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 21.

In that tournament, McCarville set an NCAA record with 75 rebounds in five games, leading up to a national semifinal loss to Connecticut.

“We’ve been in this situation before, which is a positive thing,” Borton said. “Other people will step up and make us better.”