Many of her Creighton teammates didn't blink when Carli Tritz showed up for Monday's first basketball practice of the season wearing a T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops.
Chronic knee pain had caused Tritz to miss practice repeatedly last season.
“I'm sure they didn't think anything of it,'' Creighton coach Jim Flanery said.
After Flanery addressed the team following practice, Tritz led her teammates to a secluded spot at the Vinardi Center and broke the news: She wouldn't be playing for the Bluejays anymore.
The bone-on-bone pain in her right knee no longer was manageable. It had cost her the athleticism that had made her a rising star as a freshman and sophomore. It left her with a different kind of pain after she told Flanery of her decision on Sunday night.
“When you can't make it through an individual workout without being sore for three days, you know it's time,'' Tritz said. “I just didn't think it would be fair to the team to drag it out for two or three more weeks, especially when he's putting in plays and trying to get his team ready.
“I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be on the team, so I just didn't think it was fair to drag it out any longer.''
Two weeks ago, Tritz had told The World-Herald that she intended to try to gut it out for one more season. The more she thought about it, though, the more she began to feel that wouldn't be possible.
So after talking with her mother on Sunday night, Tritz called Flanery. The coach wasn't totally caught off guard by the player's announcement.
“She had a cortisone shot a couple of weeks ago and still couldn't get through a one-hour individual workout,'' Flanery said. “I think this has been something that has been weighing on her all summer because her knee has been worse than it's ever been.
“I don't think she just made the decision but she validated it over the last couple of days.''
A multi-sport star in high school at Sioux City Heelan, Tritz made an immediate impact on Flanery's 2010-11 team. She finished as its second-leading scorer and won the Missouri Valley freshman of the year award. That was the same season when Doug McDermott won the award on the men's side.
As a sophomore, Tritz averaged almost 15 points a game, earned first-team all-conference honors and helped lead Creighton to the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade.
She was the Valley's preseason player of the year last season but her knee worsened during preseason practice. She never regained her old form, wound up losing her starting position and finished the season averaging 6.8 points a game.
During the offseason, she underwent a procedure in which a fluid extracted from the combs of the back of chicken's heads was injected into the knee in an attempt to provide some cushion in the joint. It was unsuccessful.
Flanery called Tritz's decision “unselfish.''
“It's going to make it easier on the team because there is going to be a lot less uncertainty,'' Flanery said. “It's the first of October, so we can start to plan that we won't have her. We had talked about going to two or three weeks of practice and seeing where she was.
“That would have been fine, too, but from a team standpoint, now we know that we have to get other people ready.''
Without Tritz, Flanery said, Creighton probably will play less four-guard lineups. That will require getting bigger contributions from some of the team's inside players.
Tritz said the toughest part of Monday night might not have been breaking the news to her teammates but watching them go through a passing-running drill that closed the workout.
“You never want to see your teammates running,'' she said, holding back tears. “I keep telling myself that I'm not letting my teammates down, but it's tough. I've never quit anything in my life.
“This is not the way I wanted it to end but there's life after basketball. I've had a good run.''
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Video: Carli Tritz, coach Jim Flanery discuss Tritz's decision to end playing career