Issy Palmer Discusses Coming Back From Injury, Finding Groove With Utah Women’s Basketball

Feb 15, 2024, 1:29 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Injuries are part of the game, but they are easily the worst part of sports.

Utah Athletics has certainly experienced those pitfalls in a major way this competition season with three of their better teams (football, men’s and women’s basketball) all battling team-wide injuries that have held them back from their full potential.

Issy Palmer with Utah women’s basketball has been one of many injury victims for the Utes in the 2023-24 competitive season, though she is thankfully back out on the court now.

Palmer recently discussed the ups and downs of getting through an injury during her senior year and finding where she fits again with her team in the middle of the season.

Issy Palmer Talks Fear Of Missing Out

One of the more difficult aspects of injuries from the athlete’s standpoint is a fear of missing out- especially if the injury takes place during a final season of eligibility as it did with Palmer.

“At the beginning I was like, ‘oh my gosh, it’s my senior year,'” Palmer said. “After such a big year last year I felt like I was ready. I had a pretty strong preseason. I put in a lot of work in the offseason and then after that- at the beginning it was like- I need to get back. I need to get back.”

That panic over missing time also becomes a double-edged sword that on one hand can push an athlete to get better as quickly as possible, but also adds a lot of stress that can cause setbacks if not managed properly.

“That’s extra stress,” Palmer said. “I couldn’t keep thinking like that. I just had to trust the process at the time and help my teammates where I could from the sideline. That’s in the past now and there is still a lot of basketball to play. Pac-12 season is almost done- we have March, we have the Pac-12 Tournament. There are still a lot of games left to be played.”

Injuries Can Have Silver Linings

There is a lot to not like about injuries- they are disruptive to team chemistry and flow among other negative aspects. However, they can ultimately have a silver lining when it comes to building depth and staggering wear and tear on key contributors which is exactly what has happened for Palmer and Utah women’s basketball.

“Instead of breaking down in February, I’m just getting started,” Palmer said with a laugh. “I’m going to hit my stride in March.”

The Utes have proved to be pretty deep and have managed Palmer and everyone else’s injuries pretty well to this point. (They have also had to deal with a season ending injury to Gianna Kneepkens and are currently waiting for Dasia Young to come back from an undisclosed injury.)

For Palmer, while it was painful to sit on the bench and not be able to play, it was also gratifying to see her teammates be able to pick up the slack and still play well even with the disruptions.

“I think it just reaffirms how deep we are as a team,” Palmer said. “I was already out and then Gianna went out. You have Ines [Vieira] who is obviously one of the best point guards in the country in terms of playmaking and defense. Then Maty Wilke, Dasia- everyone can play. It was never a ‘what if’ or ‘what can they do?’ We knew they could do it and it was just a matter of figuring out how to play with different people in different positions. I think they did a great job and it’s paying off for us now because we are confident heading into February and March.”

Issy Palmer Gets Back In The Saddle

Palmer has been back in the Utah lineup now for a few weeks and has steadily been getting back to her old self- another challenge in and of itself.

“It was tough at the beginning- any normal person who has sat out for 10 weeks is going to struggle just a little bit,” Palmer said. “Not mentally but coming back physically and trying to get back in shape without getting injured. You can’t just go zero to one hundred. It’s a process and I’m still in that process right now, but I think I am almost back to full strength.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Issy Palmer Discusses Coming Back From Injury, Finding Groove With Utah Women’s Basketball