No surprise here, but redshirt sophomore center Taylor Harrison confirmed to me this morning that his Cal basketball career is over.
Unable to play the past two seasons because of a left knee injury that still causes him pain every day, the 6-foot-10 native of San Clemente said all that’s left to do to officially exit the program is some paperwork.
“I am done with my basketball career, unfortunately,” Harrison said by phone from his family’s home. “I talked to three doctors from all over and they said it would be best for my knee if I didn’t play Division I basketball any longer just because of the day-to-day impact.
“It’s sad because in December I was ready to go. My knee felt great. Then something happened and on Dec. 22 I got an MRI. They said it didn’t look so hot. They talked to some other doctors, and they agreed.”
Harrison underwent surgery in March 2007 after his freshman season and again in June 2008 to repair cartilage damage in the knee. The December MRI showed what doctors described to him as “extensive and accelerated cartilage damage.”
Doctors then removed fluid from the knee as one more way to evaluate the state of things. “They said if there’s cartilage in this fluid, I probably shouldn’t play any longer,” Harrison said. “They pulled out 30ccs of fluid and there was a bunch of cartilage in it. It’s just breaking down. There isn’t much they can do.”
When the paperwork is complete, giving Harrison a medical retirement, the basketball program will recoup one scholarship. Harrison said he will return to school in the fall to continue work on a double major of American studies and art practice.
I’ll have more later on Harrison’s long fight to jump-start his basketball career and how he plans to fill the void in his life.