Mercedes Russell to redshirt this season

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 1, 2013: Center Mercedes Russell #21 of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers during basketball practice for the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics

Knoxville, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee center Mercedes Russell is expected to miss the entire 2014-15 season to give her time to recover from a history of foot problems.

In a university release Thursday, Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick said that "Mercedes has a history of orthopedic problems with her feet that our sports medicine staff is working to correct." Warlick says the 6-foot-6 sophomore from Springfield, Oregon, is expected to redshirt. Warlick said last month that Russell had undergone offseason surgery on her right foot.

Russell was rated as the nation's top prospect in her class by multiple recruiting services when she signed with Tennessee in November 2012. She averaged 6.3 points and 5.0 rebounds and had a team-high 40 blocks as a freshman, helping Tennessee go 29-6 and reach an NCAA regional semifinal.

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