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Monday, December 29, 2003
More tough luck
She's been down this road - Life's Not Fair Boulevard - before, but that only makes it feel longer and more demanding.
It was only about a month ago that Cathrine Kraayeveld, a graduate of Lake Washington High School, led the Oregon women's basketball team in both scoring (17.2 points per game) and rebounding (8.6). It marked an inspired comeback effort by the Kirkland native, setting the table for a tournament run by the nationally ranked Ducks.
The 6-4 forward was coming off a junior season marked by a bizarre staph infection in her right knee that limited her effectiveness, frustrated team doctors and kept her out of half of the team's games.
"It's a joyful celebration," Oregon coach Bev Smith said at Pac-10 Media Day. "It just didn't feel like the Oregon Ducks without her."
But just five games into her senior season, Kraayeveld pulled up for a drill in practice, cut and felt her right knee give. Again. Doctors confirmed her worst suspicions: torn ACL. They set a surgery date for Dec. 26, followed by months of intense rehabilitation. Again.
"Oh, no," teammates gasped. "Not again."
Her previous injury did little to dampen Kraayeveld's spirit, so those that know her don't expect this injury will, either. She's still a captain, still attending practices and still shouting out encouragement. She's every bit the leader Smith expected entering this season.
But she's also already back in rehab, working on strengthening the knee for a return next season. Meanwhile, Oregon is applying for a medical redshirt, which would give Kraayeveld another year of eligibility. The cutoff for such redshirts is usually about seven games.
Kraayeveld is considered one of the most WNBA-ready players in the Pac-10, but she says that's not even on her radar. She wants to finish her career at Oregon differently than the way she started it - on the court, sans injury.
Besides, the WNBA can wait. Kraayeveld has unfinished business.
"I really want to just have a good, solid year," Kraayeveld said. "I don't think I've had that yet. I want to play a full year the best that I can play. There are still a lot of things I want to do at Oregon. Then I'll worry about the future."
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