Notre Dame senior Mychal Johnson, who was expected to play a key role at point guard, will miss the 2017-18 season after tearing an ACL during practice.
The 5-foot-7 Johnson, whose career at Notre Dame has been slowed by numerous injuries, was one of the players coach Muffet McGraw was counting on to fill the void left by the graduation of All-America point guard Lindsay Allen, the school's all-time leader in assists with 841. Johnson hurt her knee on Monday.
"Very tough for Mychal and for all of us," McGraw said. "We are heartbroken to lose her. I am certain she will continue to be a leader for us and will find a way to help our team from the sidelines."
Johnson played in 85 games after arriving on campus as a freshman in 2014 following a highly touted career at St. Joseph High School in Huntington, West Virginia. She averaged 2.4 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game, but was noted for her defensive skills as Notre Dame reached the Final Four, Sweet 16 and Elite Eight the past three seasons.
Junior Marina Mabrey, who spelled Allen last season, and graduate transfer Lili Thompson now will get most of the work at the position.
Johnson's injury also puts a dent in McGraw's plans to use more four-guard lineups to offset the loss of 6-foot-3 All-America post Brianna Turner, who is sitting out the season to fully recover from her own torn ACL, suffered against Purdue during last year's NCAA Tournament run.