Whalen won’t need surgery

Dan Miller

Lindsay Whalen, Minnesota’s women’s basketball team’s injured all-time leading scorer, heard good news Tuesday morning at a doctor’s appointment. The All-American could be in store for a quicker-than-expected recovery time and might be ready for the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Whalen, who has 2,186 career points, was injured Feb. 12 against Ohio State when she collided with another player and took an awkward fall, fracturing two metacarpal bones in her hand.

Minnesota coach Pam Borton said the doctors indicated surgery to help the bones heal was ruled out.

“The bones weren’t fractured as much as they thought,” Borton said. “It was in the lower part of her hand where there was a lot of blood circulation.”

Initial estimates were that Whalen, a senior, would be out four to six weeks – likely closer to six, which would mean the Gophers would have to make the NCAA Sweet 16 for Whalen to continue her career. But Borton was optimistic Tuesday that she could be back sooner.

“There is an indication that she will be back earlier than expected, it just depends what kind of healer she is,” Borton said.

Whalen will wear a temporary cast and be evaluated weekly.

The Gophers’ next action is Thursday in Iowa City, Iowa, where they close a three-game road trip with a tilt against the Hawkeyes.