Tennessee WCBB Center Tamari Key Out for Season Because of Blood Clots in Lungs

Doric SamDecember 8, 2022

KNOXVILLE, TN - MARCH 21: Tamari Key #20 of the Tennessee Lady Vols shoots the ball against the Belmont Bruins during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament held at Thompson-Boling Arena on March 21, 2022 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Donald Page/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Donald Page/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Tennessee Volunteers starting center Tamari Key had her senior season cut short after some unfortunate news on Thursday.

According to ESPN's Alexa Philippou, Tennessee announced that Key will miss the remainder of the season after blood clots were discovered in her lungs.

The school announced that Key is expected to make a full recovery. Per Philippou, she "will receive care under the guidance of the University of Tennessee Medical Center and Tennessee athletics team physicians."

A four-year starter for the Lady Vols, Key entered the 2022-23 season as a preseason All-SEC first-team selection and a member of the Naismith Trophy watch list. She averaged 10.5 points and 8.1 rebounds as a junior and was named a semifinalist for defensive player of the year as well as a finalist for the Lisa Leslie Award, which is given to the nation's best center.

Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper expressed her thoughts in a statement:

"My sole concern right now is that Tamari continues to get the medical care and guidance she needs and begins the gradual process of healing and returning to full strength. This is much bigger than basketball. We are so grateful that this medical condition was caught. Our entire program will be right beside Tamari during this process and welcomes prayers and positive thoughts from Lady Vol Nation and beyond."

Key's absence is another blow to a Tennessee team that entered the year with high aspirations. The Lady Vols entered the year ranked in the Top Five but has since fallen out of the poll after starting out with a 5-5 record. Leading scorer Rickea Jackson is also out indefinitely because of what Harper called a "coach's decision."

The Lady Vols have two games at home against unranked teams before a crucial nonconference showdown at No. 2 Stanford on Dec. 18.