Danielle Arriaga, a freshman on UT's softball team who started the Lady Vols' first 15 games at shortstop and led the SEC in fielding percentage at the time of her injury, is now recovering from the season-ending surgery she had last week in Knoxville.
"Danielle had a procedure to realign the extensor mechanism in her left knee," said Jenny Moshak, assistant athletics director for sports medicine. "She is going to have to undergo at least six months of rehabilitation with the goal of returning to play softball."
"Danielle is an extremely good player, both offensive and defensively," co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "Her loss this season has been costly to our team. We have been told that her future as a softball player depends on how hard she works in her rehab and how quickly she can return to full strength. We consider Danielle to be a very important member of our squad, and we hope and pray that she will fully recover."
Having been sidelined since the UNLV Tournament was completed on Feb. 23, Arriaga had compiled a .273 (12-for-44) batting average with seven runs scored and a home run. She had registered an impressive a .983 fielding percentage at short, having committed just one error in 58 chances.
During the trip to Las Vegas, she had turned in a sizzling 7-for-15 (.467) clip in five games, including a 2-for-4 effort in the championship clincher against Syracuse. That outing came on the heels of a career-best 3-for-4 outing in the 3-2 decision over UL-Monroe the previous night.
Arriaga swiped the first base of her career and went 1-for-3 in Stacey Jennings' perfect game against UNLV on Feb. 21. In addition, she hit her first home run in a 10-2 thrashing of Jacksonville at the Triple Crown Invitational in St. Augustine, Fla., on Feb. 8.
Tennessee (25-12, 4-5 SEC) resumes action today at Tyson Park with a 3 p.m. doubleheader against Austin Peay (9-13-1).