Sooners' Whitney Hand suffers setback

Updated: August 17, 2010, 8:36 PM ET
Associated Press

NORMAN, Okla. -- Guard Whitney Hand is expected to miss the first half of Oklahoma's season after a setback in her recovery from a right knee injury that kept her out of the Sooners' run to the Final Four last season.

Hand had microfracture surgery Tuesday after cartilage damage was found during an arthroscopic procedure initially intended to reduce swelling in the knee. She's expected to be out five months.

Hand tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee in a Thanksgiving holiday tournament last November and missed the rest of the season.

Coach Sherri Coale says Hand is expected to make a full recovery.

The timeline for her return would bring Hand back around the start of Big 12 play in January. The Sooners' first conference game is Jan. 8 at Nebraska.

"This is really just a continuation of repair from the original injury and while we're certainly disappointed that her finish line, so to speak, has been moved back a bit, the important thing is that she will experience a full and complete recovery," Coale said in a statement.

"Whit has a remarkable mindset. Her faith and her complete dedication to our team will drive her through the next few months."

Hand averaged 13.4 points and shot 38 percent from 3-point range in five games last season before her injury. Before that, she was a starting guard on Oklahoma's 2009 Final Four team, averaging 9.2 points and making 37 percent of her 3-pointers.

Team doctors had cleared her to play basketball again on June 21.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press