Cutting around a screen against Lapel on Wednesday evening, Jodi Howell fell to the floor in agony. The main concern is no longer the swelling in her left knee, but now the pain in her right knee.
Early evaluations have pointed to a possible injury to her right knee ACL, which will be evaluated this morning in Indianapolis. Howell previously had an ACL tear in her left knee in 8th grade.
The role of the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is to stabilize the knee joint by keeping the tibia from sliding forward under the femur. Of the four major ligaments in the knee, the ACL is the most commonly injured. Other ligaments include the medial collateral ligament (MCL), the lateral collateral ligament (LCL), or the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
Athletes suffer the most ACL tears, resulting from the sudden movements required to perform various sports. In women, athletes performing in basketball and soccer are at the highest risk for ligament damage due to the frequent lateral pivoting motions within each sport. According to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, women are two to eight times more likely to suffer an ACL tear than men.
With Alexandria leading by a score of 20-8 at the beginning of the second quarter, Howell was the focus of the Lapel defense. She had already scored 11 points, grabbing three rebounds and dishing out three assists.
"She has always been played against gimick defenses which 'chuck' her anytime she cuts through the lane," said Alexandria head coach Jon Howell. "But since she has been in high school, it has been common place."
"Referees tell me that I have to get used to it."
Inspired by their fallen teammate, Alexandria rallied to beat Lapel in overtime, 46-43.
Jodi will be examined this morning by Dr. K. Donald Shelbourne, a pioneer in the field of orthopedic surgery at Methodist Sports Medicine Center in Indianapolis. Dr. Shelbourne has performed more than 4000 ACL reconstructions since 1982. He is currently the orthopedic consultant for Purdue University and Wabash College, and was the team orthopedic surgeon for the Indianapolis Colts from 1984 through 1998.