As she talked about her rehabilitation from a torn ACL suffered earlier this season, UK Hoops junior guard Maegan Conwright’s face lit up.
“I’m biking now!” she said.
According to Conwright, it’s the little things like finally being able to bike that are most important when coming back from a “devastating” injury such as a torn ACL. She is in her first few weeks of post-surgery rehab, and Conwright has learned to focus on the baby-step approach to getting back on the court.
“You’ve got to get excited because it is that type of injury where the little things matter,” she said. “So when something little happens, then you should be really excited about it because that’s a big step in something like this.”
Right now, Conwright is focusing on things like bending, stretching and working her quad again during rehab. According to coach Matthew Mitchell, Conwright is ahead of schedule for the typical comeback from an ACL tear.
“She is ahead of schedule, and that’s a credit to how hard she’s worked and her attitude,” he said. “The first few weeks out of surgery are so difficult – they’re painful physically and taxing mentally. She’s just done a fantastic job.”
To help her get through the rehabbing process – one that is difficult for athletes mentally and emotionally as well as physically – Conwright has been offered support from many former and current athletes who have had the same injury. She said that Amber Smith, former UK standout who also suffered a torn ACL, texted Conwright as soon as the injury happened giving her advice on what to expect in the coming months.
That kind of advice is something Conwright can now share with other University of Kentucky athletes: News broke today that men’s basketball star Nerlens Noel tore his ACL in the Cats' game at Florida last night.
“I think we’re going to be best friends in the training room,” she said. “I think I’m going to see him in there a lot now.”
To Conwright, the most important part of coming back from an injury like hers and Noel's is to have a positive outlook on her potential. She says she has learned a lot during her time on the bench, just by listening to the coaches during games and evaluating what’s going on on the basketball court. Those kinds of benefits are a different kind of baby step towards recovery, but still steps nonetheless.
“If you drag on this situation, it’s not going to help you at all,” Conwright said. “We have the best trainers, the best medical service. He (Noel) is going to be good, and he has to know that… That’s what helped me. My teammates helped me, my coach helped me – they all helped me just think positive. Think of all the good things that will come out of this. You’ll come back stronger, you’ll come back smarter on the basketball court.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times