Injuries - they’re a part of the game. Whether you’re a recreational or competitive athlete, everyone has suffered through a bump, bruise, break or tear. I’ve been fairly fortunate throughout my basketball career, as I’ve never really suffered anything too serious. Sure I’ve sprained my ankles, jammed multiple fingers, broken my nose twice and dislocated both shoulders – but I’ve never had an injury that has required surgery or kept me away from the game I love for a long period of time. Injuries are scary and when someone goes down - competitor or not, I always pray they are able get back up and continue playing.
I’ve always said that my greatest fear was tearing my ACL. I’ve had friends and teammates alike go through this horrible experience. Whenever I hear someone has hurt a knee, I almost feel sick - hoping it’s nothing more than a sprain or hyperextension. If there is one thing I know as a high level athlete, it’s that hurting a knee is one of worst things that can happen to your body – the body you’ve worked so hard to build up for your selected sport.
Saturday was not a good day. Facing a team we defeated earlier in the season by 24, I was seriously injured minutes into the first quarter. Crashing the boards after a teammate’s shot, I jumped for the offensive rebound. Collecting it in the air, as I came down, my legs were taken out from under me. I landed awkwardly on my right heel and my knee gave out. Though I didn’t feel pain right away, I immediately knew something was wrong. My leg went hot and felt like jello. Lying on the floor, I took a few deep breaths and gathered myself. As I got up to walk, my knee collapsed under my body weight. This was when I lost it. With my biggest fear being a knee injury, I became uncontrollably emotional. Thinking the worst, I didn’t know what to do or how to react. Calming down as much as I could, our trainer tried to tape me up. Umm…no. There was no way I was getting back on the court. I told her I needed to go to the hospital ASAP. Leaving my team with 4 minutes remaining in the 1st quarter, they were on their own.
After an hour in emergency and finally seeing the doctor, I was told my x-rays were negative. Further poking and prodding of my knee had the doctor concluding that she didn’t think it was the ACL. Putting my mind at ease somewhat, any news was good news at that point. Next she molded a splint/brace to minimize leg movement and sent me off with a prescription for medication and crutches. MRI’s aren’t done on the weekends, so right now I’m mentally preparing for tomorrow’s MRI and the results the knee specialist will have Wednesday. Please send positive thoughts this way!
Of course the most important thing right now is the health of my knee. I want nothing more than the specialist to tell me that all I need is rest and ice and that I can return to the court in 2-4 weeks. However, the injury couldn’t have happened at a more inopportune time. First and foremost, we needed the win Saturday (ended up losing by 2. We were up 10, but unable to hold on for the W). Secondly, I had a flight booked Sunday morning to meet one of my close friends (Kelly McDonald, former UW gymnast and current Le Rêve performer at the Wynn Hotel) in London. We had been planning this trip for weeks and were going to spend 2 days exploring a city I’d never been to ($250 down the drain). And finally, we have a Cup game Wednesday against the same team we played Saturday. The winner goes to the semi-finals, which is a HUGE deal in Luxembourg. Over 6,000 people attend these games. I wanted nothing more than to be on the floor with the team, but sadly that won’t happen. I have faith that the girls will bring their ‘A’ game and play with everything they have to get the win.
Injuries unfortunately prove that like anything, professional basketball is a business. The moment it was determined I’d be out for at least a week, the club was on the phone looking for a new player to fill my spot for the next 2 games. Today the new foreigner arrived from Pennsylvania. Though her arrival puts me in a strange position, I’m hoping she can help the team to victory the next 2 games. We need these wins. Our manager has promised me that she is just here for the week. Based on the results of the MRI, my situation in Luxembourg is to be determined then. I believe Basket Esch cares about me and wants me to continue playing for them, but if I’m unable to, everything changes.