Illini’s Turner slowed down by nerve injury

By Lucas Deal

Redshirt sophomore Kayani Turner is the starting left outside hitter on the Illinois volleyball team. Turner currently leads the Illini with 152 kills and, as of Oct. 16, was 15th nationally with a 4.98 kills per game average. Unfortunately for Turner, she has missed two of Illinois’ last four matches with a nerve injury in her right leg and has not practiced in more than two weeks.

Question: What is the latest news on the leg injury?

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Answer: “Right now (the coaches, trainers and I) are just trying to have me play on it as little as possible. We’ve been trying to numb the nerve to see if that can get rid of some of my pain. It’s not season-ending or career-ending; it’s just something that keeps dragging on so we’re trying to minimize the pain that I have.”

Q: Are you on any medicine or treatment for the pain?

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    A: “We’re just trying to rest it as much as possible. I’ve had lots of different types of treatment and medication recently and we’re trying to find something, some combination that works. As of right now, we’re doing the rest thing to see if I can come back. If that doesn’t work, then we’ll have to find something else to do. It’s a crazy kind of syndrome because it comes and goes and you’re not really sure what to expect.”

    Q: Has it been hard to play one match a week without any practice?

    A: “It’s rough. I know for me, as an athlete, it’s hard because I know how much better I could be getting in practice and I know that I’m not playing to the level that I’m supposed to. It’s hard coming into matches, because you’re not in the condition you would be in with practice. You get tired faster, you get drained faster, and it’s just not the way you want to play.”

    Q: What can you say about how well your teammates, especially your replacement – freshman Kylie McCulley – have placed in your absence?

    A: “They’ve been great; there hasn’t been a change or a letdown at all. Kylie has been doing a great job; she played great against Indiana and Penn State. And not just that, she came into the match against Penn State with no real experience was just outstanding. She took over, literally. It’s hard coming in to a position like that, and yet she’s taken it in stride, and she’s doing a great job.”

    Q: The team is 13-7, 4-6 in the Big Ten right now. Is this where you all thought you would be through 20 matches, and what do you expect for the next 10?

    A: “I don’t know if this is where we expected we would be, but it is where we are. And whether it’s where we wanted to be or not, it’s still where we’re at and we’re in the Big Ten season so we have to keep playing and improve. We have some teams coming up that we know we can beat and I think if we play our type of volleyball and just relax and play well, we can compete with high level teams.”