NEWARK, N.J. -- Liberty forward Essence Carson will miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee.
New York made the announcement Sunday before playing Atlanta for the second time in three days. Carson was carried off the court with 3:56 left in the second quarter of New York's 75-56 loss at Atlanta on Friday. She was driving on a fast-break attempt when her leg appeared to give way as she attempted to make a cut near the basket. An MRI exam Saturday revealed the tear.
Carson said she knew immediately the injury was serious.
"When it first happened I knew that was it," she said. "When you're a kid and you pop a pencil, snap it in half? It snapped and I felt it and it was excruciating pain. It wasn't even the type of pain that would allow you to cry. All I could do was yell and couldn't stop yelling. Once that pain quieted down, I was able to get up off the floor.
"I understood what was going on. ... I've had many teammates go through it and I've seen their road to recovery. I know it's something I can come back from."
The former Rutgers star was averaging a team-high 17.7 points and 6.3 rebounds through the first three games this season. She has averaged 8.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 172 career games.
"(She's) a solid defender, arguably our best defender out there, and she was averaging 17 points a game," Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer said. "(She was) off to a good start, but that's the reality of professional sports. You have to move on."
Laimbeer said he plans to start veteran forward Katie Smith in Carson's place and rookie Toni Young could see more playing time.
"We'll still play the same strategy on defense, the same structure that we have," Laimbeer said. "Nothing changes. Just that we lose a very athletic player."