Tennessee signee Alexa Middleton had to wait until during the Riverdale’s girls basketball practice Wednesday to find out if her high school senior season will continue into the postseason.
Middleton, who injured her right knee during the third quarter of the Lady Warriors’ loss to Oakland on Monday night, was cleared to return to play after an MRI showed there was no ligament damage.
“The lining is bruised where the cartilage is,” Middleton said. “They said there will be some soreness. I’ll have to wear a brace for it. I don’t know for how long.”
Middleton said she was lightly pedaling an exercise bike while her teammates practice when finally given the green light to practice.
“I immediately got up and started jogging to warm up,” she said. “I was very relieved. I was on the bike because I hadn’t been cleared to do anything yet.”
Middleton scored 17 points in the 56-50 loss to Oakland, but left the game with 4:33 left in the third quarter when she injured her knee after colliding with Oakland’s Kiara Howse. Middleton checked back in the game with 26.5 seconds left in the quarter. She scored seven points in the fourth quarter on the injured knee. She left the game again to have the knee taped.
Middleton, a 2013 Miss Basketball finalist, became Rutherford County’s first basketball player selected for the McDonald’s All-American Game recently.
She has played in three straight Class AAA state championship games with the Lady Warriors. Riverdale has won the past two Class AAA state titles.
However, the fourth-ranked Lady Warriors are the third seed in this season’s District 7-AAA tournament.
Riverdale plays Stewarts Creek at 7:30 p.m. in a 7-AAA quarterfinal. The loser’s season is over.
Stewarts Creek coach Jessica Jackson said she’s happy that Middleton’s knee checked out OK.
“It’s a great opportunity for us,” Jackson said. “I’m glad Middleton’s back.
“It would be a horrible way to have her career end. And if we are able to pull it off, I want to pull it off with all of them.”