The pain UConn junior guard Caroline Doty felt in her left knee did not feel the same as it did twice before when she had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Since feeling some discomfort during a pick-up game this summer to feeling further pain during a workout a few weeks ago she thought ice and some rest was all that would be necessary.
Doty and the two-time defending national champion Huskies learned Thursday morning that the pain in her knee was for more serious than she believed. During a morning meeting with UConn team physician Robert Arciero and New York Giants team physician Russell Warren in Manhattan, the results of an MRI revealed a torn ACL.
“I was kind of prepared for that,’’ Doty said Friday night. “That was one of the options that I might need it reconstructed again, but there was still a possibility that I could play all year. It was shocking. It was devastating a little bit. But I kind of have a new mentality about it because I knew my role as an upperclassman this year and how I had to take the news. Yeah, I was upset and devastated. But I was just thinking about the positives right away where the first two times I just thought about the negatives right away. I think that helped out a lot. And, of course, I’m going think about the negative things because I’m going to be upset over them. But I’m not really going to dwell on them. I’m just going to focus on the positives and what I can do now knowing that I’m going to have to need surgery and sit out this year.’’
This is the second time in her career at UConn that she will be sidelined by a torn ACL. She missed the final 22 games as a freshman in 2008-09 after being injured late in the first half against Syracuse Jan. 17, 2009. She also suffered a tear playing soccer as a high school senior at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. in September of 2007.
Doty, who was expected to start at point guard for the Huskies, said she is currently working to schedule a date for surgery. It will be performed by Arciero in likely two to three weeks.
Doty’s father, Kevin, said Thursday that there was an 80-85 percent tear of the ligament. Even after tweaking it during a pick-up game during summer school, she did not seek medical attention until after she tweaked it again on layup during a workout at a gym outside Philadelphia in mid-July.
“I kind of took like three or four days off myself and didn’t really tell anybody because I just thought it was going to … because it got swollen and stiff the next day,’’ Doty said. “And I was like, `Oh with some ice I’ll be fine’ because it didn’t feel like an ACL at all. And then I finally called up (team trainer Rosemary Ragle) and told her it’s been bugging me and then Dr. Arciero called to setup kind of like a checkup. From there on, we had MRIs, X-rays and everything. We got the final say (Thursday) morning.’’
The rehabilitation process will be different than the first two Doty, who averaged 6.8 points and 3.5 assists in 25.3 minutes in 39 games last season, previously endured. She is upbeat, realizing that she has two full seasons remaining in her career. She also has a full year to work herself back to full strength at a slow, methodical pace and she will also have the opportunity to work toward a master’s degree in her fifth year.
“I don’t think I went about it in the right attitude my freshman year,’’ Doty said. “I wasn’t able to get the year back. I wasn’t being able to play with the seniors for the rest of the year. Now with this mentality it’s more like I get my year back. I’m not going to really dwell about anything because we have five new freshmen who if they see one their upperclassmen down and kind of moping around everywhere what’s their attitude going to be like towards the season? I still have everyone’s support. I still know that I’m going to be around everything 100 percent. I already talked to the coaches. I’m going to be in the office with them watching game film and as active as I can with the team. And when I can be on the court I’m going to be on the court and whenever I’m not just try to be a positive influence as best I can.’’
Doty expressed confidence in both heralded freshman Bria Hartley and senior Lorin Dixon to handle the point guard duties this season for the Huskies. Hartley, a 5-foot-10 high school All-American who averaged 30 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 5.9 steals last season, recently attended Point Guard College. Prior to that she had made quite an impression on her teammates during pick-up games.
“I’ve actually been talking to her,’’ Doty said. “She’s been at Point Guard College the last week so I think that’s definitely helped her out a lot to kind of see the other point guards and what they’re about and kind of get a little experience with them and what her competition’s going to be like and how to be a better vocal leader as a point guard. But with all freshmen it takes them a while to kind of warm up because it’s different in the college game. But she has all of us supporting her and she’s an unbelievable player, and being up here over the summer and playing pick-up she already has the confidence. She already has the skills. I’m just excited to work with her and I think she’s able to take on any challenge thrown at her.’’
Dixon has had a prosperous of-season, according to Doty. Dixon has spent a great deal of time on the court working on her shooting and putting in ample time honing her overall game.
She averaged 2.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 16.1 minutes in 29 games last season.
“She had a great summer,’’ Doty said. “Making shots. Really working hard. She’s on the court all the time. I really liked what I was seeing with her. I think with the point guard position we’re going to be alright. Lorin has like the experience for being a senior. I think she’s ready to take on the role too, and she’s really been working hard. It’s going to be a fun year with them because they’re those I guess true point guards and it’ll be cool seeing them … And if they need anything I’m just going to be right there next to them on the bench helping them out the best I can.’’