Katie Smith Out Of Olympics With Knee Injury

August 24, 2004  •  Athens, Greece
Katie Smith will miss the USA's medal round games after tearing cartilege in her right knee.

2004 U.S. Women's Olympic Basketball Team member Katie Smith (Minnesota Lynx) was diagnosed Aug. 24 with a torn cartilage in her right knee after an MRI exam and will miss the remainder of the Olympic Games in Athens, U.S. Olympic Team head physician Dr. David Weinstein announced today.

"It's frustrating," said Smith. "I was slowly but surely getting a few more minutes. I don't think my role would have been 20 to 30 minutes, but I felt I could have contributed as the games went on. I was hoping to bring a little something to the table. Obviously that wasn't in the cards. I'm still happy to be here. If this would have happened a month ago, I wouldn't have been able to be a part of it at all. Being here and being able to support the team is still a good thing. I think I can still help fire them up. Being here, keep in their ears, helping cheer them on from the bench, that's going to be my new role. The competition is going to get tougher and tougher as we go along. I can be another cheerleader from the bench, try to keep them up and keep them motivated."

The injury occurred during the USA's Aug. 22 100-62 victory over China and the MRI was conducted on
Aug. 23. Smith will remain with her teammates through the end of the Games before returning to the U.S. to decide on her next medical steps.

"(This is) a blow to our basketball team," said USA head coach Van Chancellor of the Houston Comets after Smith's injury. "She helped us win a gold medal in China (at the 2002 World Championship). She has a tremendous amount of experience. She knows everything that I want to do. She's been with me through China, through Cuba, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, through everywhere, every training camp I've ever had since day one. She really, really has a tremendous understanding of where I'd like to get the basketball to Lisa Leslie and therefore (this is) a blow to us."

Smith missed two of the team's first two games with a contusion on her knee and she played a total of 13 minutes in the next three games. The torn cartilage was not related to the former injury suffered three and a half weeks ago in a WNBA game.

"Katie is a veteran," said USA teammate Yolanda Griffith (Sacramento Monarchs) following Sunday's game against China. "She's been in the USA Basketball program a long time, she helped win the gold medal in 2000. She was strong for the team the entire tour. We're going to miss Katie, she is a great defender, she's an outstanding offensive player. She does those little things that people on the team notice."

The women's Olympic team is undefeated in Olympic play with a 5-0 record and have won gold in four of the past five Olympics. The U.S. women play home team Greece Wednesday in the quarterfinals of Olympic basketball play at 2:30 p.m. (local time). It will air in the United States on the USA network beginning at 7:30 a.m. (EDT).





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