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Utah gymnastics coach Megan Marsden was discussing on Monday how the Utes have been lucky in not having any major injuries this year. She shouldn't have said anything.
Jinxed or not, the Utes suffered a major blow on Tuesday when sophomore Kari Lee tore her Achilles' tendon in practice.
Lee's injury is a huge loss for the seventh-ranked Utes (3-0, 1-0), who are off until they host No. 20 Arizona on Monday at 6 p.m.
Lee is the only Utah gymnast competing in the all-around this year and was expected to be one of the team leaders after her breakout freshman season.
Lee, from Peoria, Ariz., was a first-team All-American on the vault and floor in 2015 and was a second-team regular season All-American on beam.
She has struggled on the floor this year, but Marsden said she felt Lee was finding her form, noting she scored a 9.9 on the beam against SUU and had earned a spot in the uneven bars lineup.
"It would be silly of me to downplay this given the freshman year she had," Marsden said. "No question Kari's upside is championship material. She was getting better each week and I felt like she was getting on track with her floor routine."
Lee suffered the injury on the floor as she pushed off to start a tumbling pass. The Utes had no warning that the Achilles' tendon might be ready to tear, Marsden said.
The Utes have had a rash of the injuries, with Corrie Lothrop tearing her Achilles in 2013, Kassandra Lopez tearing her's in 2014 and Tory Wilson tearing her's in 2015. Each one was similar to Lee's with the gymnasts going from healthy one second to being done for the season the next.
"The thing with these injuries is there is no indication," Marsden said. "It's not something that you can re-vamp things or adjust if they are hurting. It just doesn't seem fair."
Lee will have surgery on Friday.
Her absence will be felt the most on the balance beam where she is a one of the steadiest performers.
"She is a natural on that event and in the words of a lot of people she floats across the beam," Marsden said. "She is so comfortable up there. We have others waiting in the wings, but I don't know if I have a ringer like Kari was."