‘You never think it will happen to you,’ says WNBA rookie and Olympic hopeful Cameron Brink after suffering ACL tear

Los Angeles Sparks rookie Cameron Brink suffered a left torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in a game against the Connecticut Sun, the team announced Wednesday.

The 22-year-old was helped off the court during the Sparks’ 79-70 loss against Connecticut on Tuesday, casting doubt on her participation in the Olympic Games later this year.

“You never think it will happen to you. And despite all the hard work sometimes it does,” Brink said in an Instagram post on Wednesday.

“This is hard to fathom but I know it will only make me stronger. I will not be derailed and I will continue to love this life. I’m not defined by basketball, but it is something that I love deeply and I will work everyday to get back to it.

“It’s not goodbye basketball it’s just a see you later. I’m always so thankful for your thoughts and prayers.”

In its post on social media Wednesday, the Sparks did not confirm a timeline for Brink’s recovery and Team USA is yet to comment. However, such an injury would usually rule Brink out of this year’s Olympics which are set to start on July 26.

The WNBA No. 2 overall pick appeared to lose her footing while driving to the basket against Connecticut’s Brionna Jones less than four minutes into the game and was shown on the broadcast clutching her knee immediately after the play.

Brink limped off the court before being carried to the locker room by Sparks staff. The team later announced that she had been ruled out for the remainder of the game.

“Except for the 2019 season, I’ve lost a starter to injury every single year I’ve been a head coach in this league,” LA head coach Curt Miller said postgame on Tuesday. “You just have to have the mentality of next person up and rally around it.

“So we’re praying and hoping for the best for Cam.”

Brink limps off the court. - M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Brink limps off the court. - M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

The Sparks went on to lose the game, their 10th straight defeat against the Sun in a streak that dates back to 2020. All five Connecticut starters scored in double figures to move the team to a league-best 13-1 record. DeWanna Bonner led her squad in an all-around performance, recording 16 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

Aari McDonald led the way for LA, posting 14 points and seven assists, with Li Yueru adding 11 points off the bench. The Sparks are now 4-11 on the season

Brink had been selected to represent the US at the Paris Olympics in the 3x3 basketball event alongside the Atlanta Dream’s Rhyne Howard, college standout Hailey Van Lith and Cierra Burdick, who currently plays professionally in Spain and previously played in the WNBA.

The 3x3 basketball event is being featured in just its second Olympic games, with the US winning the inaugural women’s gold medal in Tokyo in 2021.

A former national champion with Stanford and the reigning women’s college basketball defensive player of the year, Brink is averaging 7.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.3 blocks per game.

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