Banks stays upbeat despite torn ACL
Updated 7:15 am, Tuesday, February 26, 2013
STORRS -- Sophomore Brianna Banks was initially told by members of the UConn medical staff at St. John's Feb. 2 that her right knee was sprained. Two days later, when she was invited into the office of Huskies' coach Geno Auriemma by team athletic trainer Rosemary Ragle, she had a hunch that the injury was more severe.
Results of an MRI revealed that it was much more than a sprain. Banks, an athletic 5-foot-9 guard, had suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament. What had been a breakthrough season was now over.
Banks will undergo surgery March 14. At this point, she is upbeat and attacking the rehabilitation process head-on.
"She's been great," Auriemma said. "It's an impossible situation to be in. But her attitude's been great. She's been pretty diligent being where she's supposed to be when she's supposed to be there. She doesn't miss much out on the court. She's out here whenever she can be. So she's doing everything she can."
Banks was dribbling with two basketballs as the third-ranked Huskies (25-2 overall. 12-1 Big East) practiced Monday at Gampel Pavilion. They will host Pittsburgh tonight at the XL Center (7; SNY) in their final regular season home game.
"I can't come back looking rusty so I've got to do something while I'm out," Banks said.
Banks sustained the injury while committing an offensive foul in the lane with 10:02 left in the first half against St. John's. She collided with Red Storm junior and Norwalk resident Briana Brown on the play. Banks said that as she was hit on the left leg she felt her right leg buckle.
Prior to suffering the tear, the most severe injury Banks had suffered was a sprained AC joint in her shoulder one summer. That forced her to miss only about a week and a half.
"I feel like it's my fault because I had Kelly (Faris) in the corner," Banks said. "I won't forget it. I had Kelly in the corner. I should've dished it. If I would've dished it I wouldn't be here. So it's my fault."
Banks, who reached double figures in scoring in seven games this season, was averaging 7.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 17.7 minutes through the first 21 games.
Banks has received ample support from her teammates and UConn assistant coach Shea Ralph, who has five times torn her ACL. Banks said that Ralph checks in with her daily. And Caroline Doty, who has three times torn her ACL, often sends her text messages in an effort to check in on her.
Banks is currently working to strengthen her hamstring and her quadriceps prior to undergoing surgery.
"I think my mom (Stephanie Rice) took it harder than I did," Banks said. "She was like in a deep depression. If I go in a deep depression like my mom did it's not going to do me any good, and I'm going to take a step back and that's not what I want."
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