Baylor's Lauren Cox practicing without a brace after worrisome knee injury in title game

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 05: Lauren Cox #15 of the Baylor Bears looks for an open shot against Erin Boley #21 and Satou Sabally #0 of the Oregon Ducks at Amalie Arena on April 5, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Lauren Cox will play this season after a scary knee injury in the championship game. (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Lauren Cox was a newly minted national champion, but at the same time she didn’t know if a knee injury suffered during Baylor’s title victory would alter her future in April.

The two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year heard good news after the title game and did not need surgery for the MCL sprain and bone bruising. Her team did not reveal a timetable for the injury, but Cox told ESPN this week she has been “full-go” playing pickup for weeks now without a knee brace.

Cox told ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel:

"I'm doing everything, not restricted. Well, when they have us do single-leg jumps, I don't do that yet. But I'm playing, and running, and lifting weights, doing whatever we have to do."

It seems she’s ready for the season opener, which is huge for a Baylor team that lost center Kalani Brown and point guard Chloe Jackson. Cox left late in the third quarter and returned to the bench, limping, with a brace on her left knee.

Cox, a 6-foot-4 forward, was named third-team All-American by the USBWA and Associated Press. She will be in the running for the Naismith trophy for the game’s best player this year — though Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu’s decision to return has pushed her down the list of favorites — and has a good shot at being drafted next spring to the WNBA.

The senior averaged 13.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game last year after collegiate highs of 15.3 and 9.7 as a sophomore. She led the conference in rebounds and blocked shots (97) and was second in scoring.

It’s her defensive presence that is most useful for Baylor and what was sorely missed in the title loss to then-reigning champion Notre Dame.

Cox sisters square off in battle of champs

An Oct. 30 exhibition game against Lubbock Christian will pit Cox against her younger sister, incoming freshman, Whitney, per ESPN. Whitney also has diabetes and wears glucose monitors and insulin pumps. It’s a cause Lauren Cox has been vocal about and even visited Washington, D.C., to speak on it.

Lubbock Christian is the defending Division II national champions.

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