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'It just feels good': Lady Vols star Rae Burrell reflects on recovering from injury and playing again

Burrell was forced to miss 12 games due to a leg injury she suffered in the season opener. She said the road to recovery was difficult, but she's glad to be back.
Credit: AP
Tennessee's Rae Burrell in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In Rae Burrell's second game back from a leg injury that caused her to miss 12 games, she hit the shot of the night on a buzzer-beater from well beyond the 3-point line as time expired in the first quarter against Texas A&M.

The bucket sparked a huge Lady Vols run that powered them to a blowout with over the 25th ranked Aggies.

"I did feel the momentum shift," she said after the game, which was the first time she spoke to reporters since getting injured. "My team went crazy for me, the crowd went crazy for me. It was a great feeling, I think everyone got great energy off of that."

It was a nice moment for Burrell. The last time she played in Thompson Boling Arena was during the season opener against Southern Illinois where she suffered that leg injury.

Since that game in November, she's been trying to get healthy enough to play again.

"It was hard. I haven't been out with an injury like that in basketball ever," she said. "It wasn't only hard physically, but it was hard mentally for me. But I had great support around me to help me get through it. Just to know I got through it and I'm back with the team, I'm just proud of myself and I'm proud of the team, and it feels good."

This past Sunday against Arkansas, she returned and made a jump shot very soon after she came off the bench.

She finished with 9 points in her return to Rocky Top, but Burrell said she is just happy to be back.

"I'm so so happy to be back with the team. They've been just doing great stuff since I've been out and I'm just so glad to be a part of it now," she said. "Not that I wasn't a part of it, but to just be out on the court is amazing."


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