Whitney Hoover has one philosophy for attacking everything in her sporting life.|
"Go big or go home," she said.
Unfortunately, she was sheepishly and half-heartedly joking when she said that because she was referring to her recent season-ending knee injury.The Black Hawk College sophomore and former Rock Island prep had her sophomore season end last month when she was hurt in a game against McHenry Community College.
"I went up for a layup, wasn't even doing anything fancy or cool, and I came down and got pushed a little bit,'' said Hoover, recalling the play in which she was injured. "I just fell on my knee wrong."
Showing her grit, she finished that blowout victory despite having unknowingly -- or at least unwilling to admit she had -- blown out her knee.
But once she had trouble bending her leg the next day, it was time to get it checked.
"I never could tell anybody a specific place it hurt," said Hoover.
And that is where the "go big or go home" becomes applicable.
In regard to the injury, she went big. She said she had 13 pieces of cartilage floating behind her left kneecap as the tissue apparently "exploded," as she said.
"I tore my meniscus and broke cartilage under my kneecap," she said. "Tearing your ACL would be worse because the recovery time is longer. Mine was pretty serious because of how the surgery goes and that it's a more difficult procedure."
She said that arthroscopic surgery was performed on Dec. 5 at which time all the loose pieces were removed and tissue was placed behind the knee to prevent bone-on-bone rubbing. Depending on how the recovery goes, though, she said more procedures could be required. A follow-up is planned later this week to determine the next step. She alwasy is wearing a full-leg brace.
"I'm out for at least four months," she said, noting she had already started physical therapy and her rehabilitation.
"I was expecting to have a good year of basketball," she said, "This sucks."
Her first major injury now has her future in doubt. She said she was thinking about attending Cornell College and continuing her playing career before this injury. Now, though, those plans are up in the air. She said she may change plans and attend the University of Iowa to work toward becoming a dentist.
"Before this happened, I wasn't sure if I was going to keep playing or not," said Hoover.
But just to keep her options open, Hoover has applied for a medical redshirt.
"I did that because all senior year I was like 'I'm not going to play basketball after high school and I'm just going to go to college,'" she said. "After my senior year season, I completely changed my mind ans was like `there's no way I can't play basketball.'
"I'm saying all this now, but I have a feeling that when basketball season ends I'm going to be out of my brace and I feel like it's going to be a repeat of two years ago where I want to keep playing."
In the meantime, the Lady Braves march on under first-year coach Karen Boyd, who could get Hoover back next year if basketball is in her future.
In the absence of their starting shooting guard, some roles will change with former Moline standout Sanela Causevic filling in many of Hoover's minutes.
"Causevic has really stepped up huge and is filling in that gap for Whitney," said Boyd. "Whitney is definitely a loss, but we're thankful for Sanela stepping up."
Causevic had a collegiate-high 29 points in the game in which Hoover was hurt. Boys said she was averaging about 14 points per game and is filling Hoover's void.
"Whitney is a (strong) offensive player," said Boyd. "Sanela is more balanced – she does well on offense and defense; she actually plays defense better than Whitney."
That will be needed to overcome the huge team loss.
Aledo, IL Details
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