When key players hurt their knees, a team has to adjust.
The “virus” of high school girls’ basketball has tampered with the championship hopes of several of this week’s state tournament qualifiers.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries sidelined prominent players on the rosters of Class 4A teams Hopkins and Bloomington Kennedy and Class 3A DeLaSalle.
Hopkins sophomore Viria Livingston tore her ACL in the second game of the season at Kennedy. A sharp moan rippled through the gymnasium when it happened. She remains out.
Kennedy lost junior guard Za’Keea Sa’eed-El to the same injury.
“The chemistry is different and everything shifted,” Hopkins senior Mikaala Shackelford said, referring to Livingston’s absence. “It was hard at first. You have to adapt to different changes.”
Shackelford will wear a brace on her left knee as she tries to feed the Royals’ run at a third consecutive state championship. She had to sit out last year’s tournament because of an ACL injury.
DeLaSalle, also a defending champion, is the most recent ACL victim. Senior starter Joi Jones tore her ACL in the section quarterfinals.
“This time of the year, you need everything,” Bloomington Kennedy coach Quintin Johnson said.
Johnson, like Hopkins coach Brian Cosgriff and DeLaSalle coach Faith Johnson Patterson, wondered how ACL injuries would change the dynamics of their team. Who would fill the missing player’s role? Will the defense be able to adapt to a new contributor? Will team chemistry be affected? Would a state tournament berth be in jeopardy?
These are just a few of the questions metro area girls’ basketball coaches are faced with when one, two, three or even four varsity players become victims of ACL injuries. Edina coach Matt Nilsen referred to it as a “virus’’ on the same day his niece, an eighth-grader, had her season with a White Bear Lake team cut short by an ACL tear.
When Minnetonka played Hopkins in the section finals last week, the Skippers were missing four players to ACL injuries, including 6-4 center Olivia Baker, and another key reserve.
“On every team you can name one or two girls that have gone through it,” Waconia senior Fiona DeMario said. Four Waconia players suffered the injury within a year, including DeMario twice herself.
Dr. Michelle Gorman McNerney, who specializes in musculoskeletal primary care and women’s sports medicine at TRIA Orthopedics, said the consequences of ACL injuries affect team success.
“Younger athletes are happy to fill in the gaps,” she said, “but as far as cohesiveness and having a good team function, it definitely has an effect.”
Hopkins found a way to rebuild. It meant freshmen and sophomores playing varsity and untested reserves being thrown into games. A lack of repetition led to more inefficiency.
|Minnesota - LP: V. Worley||3||FINAL|
|Atlanta - WP: P. Maholm||8|
|Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon||7||FINAL|
|NY Mets - LP: B. Parnell||4|
|Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu||9||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta||2|
|Oakland - LP: J. Parker||1||FINAL|
|Texas - WP: R. Wolf||3|
|Arizona - LP: T. Cahill||1||FINAL|
|Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa||4|
|Washington - WP: T. Clippard||2||FINAL|
|San Francisco - LP: J. Affeldt||1|
|Tampa Bay - LP: C. Ramos||3||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: A. Loup||4|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Samardzija||0||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano||1|
|Detroit - WP: J. Verlander||11||FINAL|
|Cleveland - LP: U. Jimenez||7|
|NY Yankees - LP: H. Kuroda||3||FINAL|
|Baltimore - WP: J. Hammel||6|
|Seattle - LP: B. Maurer||1||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: C. Wilson||7|
|Philadelphia - WP: C. Lee||3||FINAL|
|Miami - LP: K. Slowey||0|
|Boston - WP: C. Buchholz||6||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - LP: H. Santiago||2|
|Kansas City - LP: J. Shields||1||FINAL|
|Houston - WP: J. Lyles||3|
|St. Louis - WP: T. Lyons||5||FINAL|
|San Diego - LP: B. Smith||3|