Women’s tennis’ Phippen out for season after wrist surgery


Les Mwirichia

Natalie Phippen, No. 4 & 5 slot player of the ISU women’s tennis team, is recovering after a successful cartilage repairing surgery on her right-hand wrist, Friday Feb.19.

While her teammates were lacing up to face in-state rival Northern Iowa, Phippen was preparing for wrist arthroscopy surgery at the Mary Greeley Medical Center.

Similar to repairing a meniscus tear in the knee, arthroscopy surgery repairs the triangular fibrocartilage in the wrist which helps with rotation. It’s also a common surgery amongst elite tennis players.

“It’s better that she had it now than later,” said coach Armando Espinosa.

It will be nearly a six month healing process before Phippen can begin physical therapy and attempt to return a 90 mph serve. But that may not be the case. Phippen was texting with coaches, trainers and teammates soon after her surgery to find out how the Cyclones did. 

“She texted me right after the match and so I assume everything will be just fine,” said assistant coach Chris Williams. “She’s a tough girl. We will see her on the courts here soon.” 

This scratches Phippen off of the roster. As of Friday, Feb. 19, the Cyclones are now down two roster slots. First the loss of Anna Kuuttila to her PHD time commitment, and now Phippen drops the roster to six out of eight matches in a duel, reducing depth and options for the Cyclones but Espinosa and Williams are hopeful for Phippen’s return next Spring.

“She will need a lot of rest and we don’t want to rush,” Espinosa said. “It is a slow process to recovery.”

Phippen made her debut in the 2014-2015 season winning her first duel as a Cyclone. She defeated Northern Iowa’s top player Sydney Wolf, 7-6, 6-3. It would be a delight for the Cyclones to have Phippen, who will be a senior, alongside them for another in-state rivalry next season.