IOWA CITY, Ia. — Three months removed from surgery on a torn right ACL, Tania Davis had her brace removed and walked without issue during Iowa’s spring practice session April 10-26, assistant coach Jan Jensen told HawkCentral.
Davis also partially tore her meniscus. Jensen didn’t have an exact timetable on Davis’ return. But she said the hopeful target date would be the Big Ten opener, usually in late December or early January.
"Shooting for her to feel great and normal by the Big Ten season," Jensen said. "I think it’ll be pushing it. There’s a lot that happens when a kid sits out that long. She might be released somewhere in that nonconference schedule, but just to get literally her legs under her again and just get comfortable with the movement in and of itself.
"But with that being said, working backwards, you just don’t know. Tania works really hard, and if everything gets tight and ready to roll, hopefully it will be sooner."
Davis missed Iowa’s final 11 games after starting the first 23 at point guard. Presumably, with Davis out for nonconference play, Kathleen Doyle will continue filling in for Davis next season. Doyle, an All-Big Ten freshman, started Iowa’s final 11 games at point guard, averaging 9.9 points, 5.2 assists and 2.2 steals.
Iowa usually shoots for quality nonconference wins to boost its RPI, rather than easier wins against weaker competition. Next season's pre-Big Ten slate is no different.
Head coach Lisa Bluder said Missouri and Western Kentucky are on the schedule, in addition to annual contests against Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Drake.
Davis, an All-Big Ten freshman two seasons ago, tore her ACL late in the fourth quarter of a 72-70 loss at Michigan on Feb. 5. She averaged 14.3 points, 4.7 assists and 0.7 steals in her final six games. She led the team in free-throw percentage (87.8) and was third in 3-point shooting among those with 10 or more shots (33.3) at the time of her injury.
"When you see them walking around without the brace on, it just seems a little bit closer," Jensen said. "A little bit closer to her going full go. But our training staff said that is going well and Tania’s working hard at it. So far, so good."
This is Davis’ second consecutive offseason of rehab. She had surgery on her left shoulder immediately following her freshman season.
Mohns' uncertain future
Rest and re-evaluate. That’s the plan for rising redshirt junior Carly Mohns, who logged just 12 minutes over five games last season thanks to a lingering knee injury that kept her out almost all of 2016.
Mohns, a 6-foot-1 epitome of a stretch power forward, tore the meniscus in her left knee as a freshman in December 2015. She hasn’t been consistently healthy since.
"That just is so unfortunate when you have kind of a chronic knee (injury)," Jensen said. "She battled and this whole year it was like, we’d go a couple steps forward and we’d go back and forward and back. She’s rehabbing from this procedure, but it’s feeling good. She’s optimistic. She’s always had a really good attitude about it."
Jensen said the plan is to continue to have Mohns rest and then re-evaluate her health when the team reconvenes in June. Mohns was granted a medical hardship waiver for 2016 and had three years of eligibility entering this season.
Doyle and Team USA: 'She has a great shot'
Kathleen Doyle was invited to the U19 U.S. Women's Basketball National Team Trials, which take place May 18-21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Jensen said Doyle will go back home to LaGrange Park, Ill., after finals to train for the trials.
"Everybody says it’s an honor to get invited, but it really is, because there’s a lot of D-I players in the country that are really doggone good, but you can’t take all of them," Jensen said. "And so we’re really excited for her, and it’s nice that (coach) Lisa (Bluder) has that USA Basketball experience and can give her a little insight of what those tryouts are going to look like. We’ve just been trying to coach her up in the sense of, 'Get in shape; they play a lot.'"
Doyle is one off 33 athletes to accept an invitation. She and Maryland's Stephanie Jones are the only current Big Ten representatives. Drake's Becca Hittner also will compete at the trials. Only 12 will make the final roster.
The 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship will be held July 22-30 in Udine and Cividale del Friuli, Italy, from July 22-30.
"She has a great shot," Jensen said of Doyle. "You don’t know. Everybody’s like, 'Oh how’s her shot?' It just depends on what they’re looking at. You want a hard-nosed person that’ll battle and be a versatile and strong guard? Boy, I’d put her up there against anyone in the country, that’s for sure."
Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.