If you’re following any number of the Marquette men’s or women’s basketball players on Instagram, then you’ve probably been inundated with announcements about the Be The Difference collective. It would appear that BTD has very recently finalized agreements with the players to make appearances for the various associated charity organizations over the next school year, and that’s both new and returning players on both rosters.
In one particular case, it seems that we got more news than just a fresh name, image, and likeness rights contract with BTD. Here’s the post that women’s basketball forward Charia Smith put on her Instagram, and that’s her on the right side of the picture along with Claire Kaifes and Rose Nkumu.
Hey, check out that gigantic hip to ankle brace on Smith. That kind of brace — not to mention the mesh running across her kneecap — tends to be indicative of a knee surgery, and if that’s a torn ligament type of surgery, then I don’t think we’re going to be seeing Smith in uniform for Marquette in three months.
Just to draw a timeline that this is a new picture of Smith:
March 5th: Plays in Marquette’s Big East tournament game against UConn, her last appearance for MU for the season, and is definitely not wearing any kind of brace as she defends Dorka Juhasz.
June 6th: Halle Vice, Bridget Utberg, and Lee Volker arrived on campus, and Smith is wearing a small brace on that left knee.
And now this newest picture. There’s a progression there from Nothing to Slight Protection to It Would Definitely Appear That Surgery Has Happened.
Smith played in 17 games as a freshman for Marquette, totaling up just 76 minutes, with an 18-plus minute stretch at home against Providence thanks to no Liza Karlen and foul trouble for Chloe Marotta ending up as her high water mark for the season. With just six players returning from last year’s roster, it stood to reason that there was going to be a big chance for Smith to make an impact for the Golden Eagles in 2023-24. That is very much in doubt right now.
It’s not a guarantee that Smith is out for the year, of course. There’s a way to read the fact that the athletic department and the team have said absolutely nothing about Smith’s injury since the season ended as “well, we expect her to be ready to go on November 1st, so what’s the big deal?” I tend to think that’s not the situation, as we already know that Megan Duffy’s program already seems to have a problem with properly discussing what is and is not happening when it comes to relatively minor issues. We’ll have to wait and see what happens as the season gets closer, I guess.