January 12, 2024 

Arizona announces season-ending injury updates

Wildcats have dealt with many significant absences throughout the 2023-24 season

On Thursday, the Arizona Wildcats announced that redshirt senior forward Salimatou Kourouma and sophomore forward Erin Tack will miss the remainder of the season due to season-ending injuries.

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According to the Wildcats’ statement, Kourouma and Tack are “in good spirits following their operations.”

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Before Arizona upset the No. 19 Utah Utes in a home game on Jan. 7, Kourouma shared on her Instagram story a photo of her jersey in a locker room that it would be her last game with the team. She had recently undergone a successful surgery to repair a dislocation on her left shoulder.

“I leave it completely up to her, 100 percent up to her, on how you feel and what you’re willing to do,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said. “I mean, ideally, we would want her to wait, if she felt good enough, but she’s in a situation [where] it’s very hard to wait because it’s always slipping out. Like, she can get hit at practice, and I think that’s hard as a player psychologically. You know, it’s painful every time it comes out, and I think it’s hurting more and more.”

Kourouma averaged 9.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game when playing 13 games for the Wildcats throughout the season.

Tack underwent successful surgery to repair her torn ACL on her right knee, which is the same knee she injured in high school, according to PJ Brown of the Arizona Daily Star. She is also a javelin thrower for the Wildcats’ track and field team and will miss the upcoming season in the spring.

The Arizona Wildcats have a 10-5 (2-1, tied for 4th in Pac-12) record and have dealt with many significant absences throughout the 2023-24 season. Junior forward Fanta Gassama was briefly in Tucson before transferring to play for New Mexico State last fall. The team already lost freshman forward Montoya Dew after she underwent surgery on her left knee before the start of the season.

Maya Nnaji, a sophomore forward who is the highest-rated recruit in the history of the Arizona Wildcats program, has left the team to focus on her academics. Notably, as reported by Arizona Desert Swarm, she is on the accelerated pathway to medical education, as her ultimate goal is to become a doctor.

“In light of recent events, it has become clear to me that I need to reprioritize my main goal and true life’s purpose: becoming a physician. With the support of my family and guidance from Above, I am stepping away from basketball to start a new chapter of my life,” Nnaji said in an Instagram post.

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Written by Aya Abdeen

Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next since December 2022. She is also a sports reporter for the Sun Devils’ women’s basketball team for The State Press. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.

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