University of Hawaii freshman middle blocker Natasha Burns will be sidelined indefinitely after fracturing her right hand in training camp practice on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-5 Canadian saw a specialist on Wednesday afternoon and was told that healing would take anywhere from four to eight weeks, and even longer if surgery is necessary.
When head coach Dave Shoji was asked if red-shirting would be a possibility, he said, “I think we would try to red-shirt her. She would not want to waste the year, coming back after mid-year would be kind of useless, pointless, but it’s unfortunate for her. She was really coming on and I just feel bad for her.”
On Tuesday, two-time AVCA Junior College National Player of the Year, junior middle blocker Annie Mitchem officially joined the team, and the injury to Burns appears to speed up the maturation process for the former Irvine Valley standout.
“I think Annie will get more reps now. There’s three rather than four middles, so that should help her a little bit, getting more reps with the second team. She’ll be in all the time now with the b-side, so that’s good for Annie,” said Shoji.
Returning starter, senior Olivia Magill, sophomore Megan Huff and sophomore Emily Maglio are the other middles on the roster.
Season opening Rainbow Wahine Chevron Invitational gets started next Friday against Idaho. The Wahine will play Wichita State on Saturday and Oregon State on Sunday.