UCLA took an unexpected hit Tuesday when the Bruins learned standout sophomore forward Noelle Quinn would be sidelined for three to six weeks because of a knee injury.
Quinn was hurt during the first half of Sunday's game against Arizona, landing awkwardly after a drive to the basket. She did return to the game in the second half.
On Monday she underwent an MRI exam. Further testing Tuesday revealed torn cartilage in her left knee.
She is expected to undergo arthroscopic surgery today.
The loss of Quinn, the team's leading scorer (16.9) and rebounder (7.1), could not come at a worse time for the No. 25 Bruins, 11-5 overall and 5-2 in the Pacific 10 Conference, who travel to the Bay Area this week to face No. 5 Stanford and California.
UCLA was leading the Pac-10 until back-to-back losses to Arizona State and Arizona last weekend.
The Bruins are now tied for third with Oregon.
"The best thing is it doesn't appear to be a season-ending injury," UCLA Coach Kathy Olivier said after the team's practice on Tuesday.
"But we still don't know how long she'll be out. We're still figuring out exactly what we're going to do tomorrow."
This is the second time Quinn has had her season interrupted because of injury. Last year she suffered a stress fracture in her right foot and sat out three games. But she still went on to earn first team All Pac-10 honors and was named the conference freshman of the year.
She said the knee wasn't bothering her much during Sunday's game.
"If it really hurt me, the doctor wouldn't have let me keep playing. So I thought it was OK. And on Monday it was sore, but not excruciating.
"So I was really surprised when they told me [Tuesday] they had to consider surgery. It's really hard because I want to be out there, but I know other people will step up."
Her teammates were initially stunned by the news, but they had their collective minds on Stanford by the end of practice.
"Noelle is a big part of this team, and without her it's going to be hard," forward Lisa Willis said. "But [the rest of us] are going to Stanford. We'll have to take things one possession at a time, offense or defense, and make sure things don't snowball."