UConn-bound recruit Samarie Walker has not undergone surgery to repair a torn meniscus in her right knee, Chaminade Julienne High girls’ basketball coach Duane Williams said today. Walker had said in San Antonio earlier this month that she would make a decision regarding surgery once she returned home from the Final Four.
Walker, a 6-foot-2 forward from West Carrolton, Ohio, has been plagued by pain in her knee for months. She is currently undergoing therapy to strengthen muscles in the area of her knee.
“I talked to her just as few days ago at an event and all she’s doing right now is some therapy,’’ Williams said. “They’re trying to strengthen some different muscles and so forth. They think she has – and this is all coming from her – some alignment issues. And they’re trying to strength some muscles to help with her alignment. They’re doing some therapy and training.
“I would only assume that she’s trying to do everything she can to prevent any surgeries. But I don’t know that they’ve actually found anything to this point, and this goes back to the season. She was checked out several times and they couldn’t find anything where she had severe tears or things like that. She had a lot of aggravation with her knees hurting and so forth. At one point they got her some orthopedic inserts for her feet to help give her better alignment. So I think that’s the road they’re going down right now is trying to make sure that they’ve got her alignment, that hopefully that takes some of the stress off of her joints and so forth.’’
Walker, who said that she has been advised by doctors that she needs surgery, averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals despite battling pain this season. She was named a McDonald’s and a WBCA All-American.
“She definitely had to deal with it and she didn’t miss any games,’’ Williams said. “We would give her a day off sometimes after games to let her recover a little bit if we had a tough stretch of games. But she practiced most of the time, except for occasions when we had a long stretch and we were going to have a day off we might give her a second day to try to recover a little bit. It affected her conditioning probably the first half of the year. She wasn’t able to get in the kind of playing shape … But as the year wore on, and especially the latter half of the year, she was able to get her stamina back up and she was playing like what we would’ve expected.’’
Walker said she will arrive at UConn May 31, a week after she graduates from Chaminade Julienne. She is also expected to participate in the USA Basketball U-18 National Teams Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo. June 8-11.
“She’s a hard-nosed kid,’’ Williams said. “She wants to get better. I think anybody coming into the situation at Connecticut, with the expectations and so forth, I’m sure that it’ll be a wake-up call for her there. Just like everybody that comes in there, there’s no way to prepare for that next level. I think that’s true with any kid going from high school to Division I college basketball. They’ve never probably worked as hard as they’re going to. And with everything being laid out for what you’re responsible for and schoolwork and everything else that is tough. I’m sure it’ll be a challenge for her. But she’s a very good student and she’s a hard worker. I know she’s looking forward to getting up there and getting into the program and seeing what they can do to help her become a better player.’’