Freedom senior point guard’s recovery from two ACL tears
By Kyle LoJacono
A torn ACL is one of the worst injuries an athlete can suffer.
Not only does tearing the ligament behind the kneecap need at least six months to recover from, it also requires countless hours of grueling rehabilitation away from the game they love.
Monet Williams knows what the process is like.
In fact, the Freedom girls basketball player has been through it twice in the last 10 months.
The senior point guard completely tore her right ACL Jan. 5 while playing Lennard.
“I tried to pro hop, and I felt my knee pop out and go back in,” Williams said. “I knew it was bad.”
Williams, who attended Riverview High at the time, was averaging 9.3 points, 5.4 assists, 3.5 steals and 2.5 rebounds when the injury happened. She was dealt the second blow five months later when she partially tore the reconstructed ACL, this time while going over hurdles during rehab.
“I stumbled over a hurdle and it popped out and popped back in just like the first time,” Williams said. “The second time it hurt worse. The second time it was the ACL and meniscus. … I felt like I was right there, fixing to get cleared and it happened again. I just thought that’s another six months out from basketball.”
Williams said being unable to play for the first time since picking up the sport in third grade was difficult, but it made her work harder to come back after the second injury. She added that encouragement from teammate Faith Woodard helped her get through the rough days.
The two have played together since eighth grade and transferred to Freedom at the same time last summer.
“I can’t imagine going through that,” Woodard said. “Thinking that you’re going to be able to play and then tearing it again. She was out for a full year. I don’t know what going through that is like, but I tried to keep her motivated and to let her know that she was going to come back stronger.”
The hours of work paid off Nov. 27 when the Patriots played at Spoto. Williams was cleared by her doctor earlier that day.
“On the bus to that game she said she was nervous, but it’s going to take a couple scares in order to get that fear out,” said Freedom coach Laurie Pacholke. “I was so excited to see her step on the floor again.”
Williams had her number called to enter the game in the first quarter. She played about five minutes, scoring four points with two steals, one rebound and one assist.
Williams increased her minutes to around eight in her second game back, which was at Chamberlain Nov. 29 while totaling four assists and one steal.
“It was a big relief to be back,” Williams said. “The team said they were excited to get me back. They’d say, ‘Mo, when you gettin’ back on the court,’ so it was good to have that support.”
Woodard said seeing Williams come back on the court for the first time is something she’ll never forget.
“It was so long since she played, and she was the only point guard I’d played with my whole time in high school,” Woodard said. “To lose her I was definitely sad, but to get her back, I was so excited for her. … She takes our team and sets us apart to have her back.”
Pacholke said just being able to play again after tearing her ACL twice shows the kind of work ethic Williams has.
“A lot of kids need a year to come back from one ACL let alone the second,” Pacholke said. “To know how much she put into her rehab to get back was the most exciting thing. … The fact that she put her mind to it and did it, that says a lot about what her future is going to be like. She’s determined, and she’ll do what it takes when she wants something.”
Williams said the experience has taught her to never give up no matter what.
“Anything can happen at any time,” Williams said. “When it first happened I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew if I didn’t work hard I’d never get back. … This is my way to get into college, so I’m hoping I get back like I was before the injury and help the team as much as I can.”
—Follow Kyle LoJacono on Twitter: @Kyle_Laker