MADRID — The girls basketball season won’t officially start for Madrid-Waddington junior guard Emma Plumley until January.
Plumley, who is Madrid-Waddington’s top returning player, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury last May and has been working hard to be able to get back in action shortly after the new year.
“She just got cleared to do some more jumping and running,” said Madrid-Waddington coach Bryan Harmer. “She can go through a lot of the (practice) drills we do, she just can’t be in contact drills or scrimmage situations where their might be contact. By the second week of January we are hoping she’s back at full strength and ready to go.
“She did a lot of physical therapy and work prior to the surgery in June. She was in phenomenal shape going into it and worked her tail off afterwards. She’s done everything that has been asked and paying any possible price she can to do get back on the court faster.”
Plumley, a 5-foot-8 shooting guard, averaged about 10 points a game last year for the Yellowjackets and having joined the varsity during the eight grade, she is the most senior member of the program.
“I don’t think it will be that hard for me to get back into games,” Plumley said. “Being on the sidelines you get to see everything that’s happening and everything that’s not happening and everything that should be happening.”
Plumley’s mother, who was named Nicole Duffy in high school, played basketball at Ogdensburg Free Academy and two former Blue Devil athletes have played major roles in helping Plumley get back on the basketball court.
Brett Amo, who works at the Riverledge Rehabilitation Center in Ogdensburg, has done a lot of the physical therapy with Plumley to help her regain her strength. Plumley also works with former OFA athlete Chris Sargent, who is her strength coach. Most of the work she does with him comes from video coaching and then following his workout plan.
“My doctor gave me a machine that moved my leg back and forth,” Plumley said. “I had to use that to get it to certain degrees, stretching and moving my kneecap and to get my range and motion back. It was painful.”
When her injury happened Plumley had no idea it was anything serious.
“I didn’t feel any pain,” Plumley said. “My kneecap went out and back in. I didn’t put any pressure on it, but I couldn’t get off the court and was carried to the bench and then the car. At home I tried to walk on it and it was probably the worst pain I ever had. It took a week or two before I could walk fine. It was really a shock to hear I tore my ACL. I was coming down with the ball really fast and trying to get by my defender. I was crossing over. I had the ball in my right and crossed too fast over to my left hand. With that motion my knee severed my ACL.”
While no coach wants to see anyone get hurt, Harmer said that Plumley may be the best-equipped player on his team to handle something like this.
“Different kids react in different ways, but she has the right mental approach to it,” Harper said. “I’m sure there was a little bit of depression early on that this was a major injury. I think she has handled it about as well as you could expect a high school junior to handle it. She has that drive to want to get better. She’s a really good student of the game and has a very high basketball IQ.”
Plumley would like to play for the St. Lawrence University women’s basketball team two years from now and Harmer thinks she will excel wherever she goes.
“I think she has something to offer a program,” Harmer said. “There’s a college program out there for her. She’s also the type of kid any coach would love to have in their program. She’s a very good student and a very good teammate and she’s just a great kid, very polite and respectful.”