We investigated whether T1, T2, and T1ρ mapping can detect early ischemic injury to bone, marrow, and cartilage in an animal model of femoral head avascular necrosis. We imaged and compared six pairs of freshly-harvested ischemic and control femoral head specimens. We then imaged the specimens a second time after a freeze/thaw cycle. We found that T1ρ and T2 mapping were sensitive to ischemic injury to the femoral heads 48 hours after onset of ischemia. Furthermore, this sensitivity was maintained after the freeze/thaw cycle. This work indicates that T1ρ and T2 mapping may help assess ischemic bone and joint disorders.