Consider the heartbreak that Juls Grubbs experienced back in November.
After sitting the bench for most of the 2013-2014 season as a reserve, she worked to become a starter for the Carroll girls basketball program in the fall. Hustle, passion and determination defined her game.
But it was that hustle that changed her senior season. As she went for a loose ball against Austin Westlake in the Colleyville Heritage tournament, Grubbs tried to keep the ball inbounds. In one motion, Grubbs twisted her right knee and felt another player hit her from the side as she went backwards.
“I heard a pop,” she screamed out on the court.
Initial examinations thought the injury was to her hamstring. A week later, an MRI revealed the crushing news of the torn ACL. The easy answer would have been for Grubbs to have the reconstructive surgery and begin rehab about this time.
She didn’t. This was Grubbs’ final year. While it isn’t going to play out like she would hope, she’s still going to take what she can get.
Surgery is on hold until March. Working with a brace that stretches from mid-shin to mid-thigh, Grubbs is close to returning to the team. She nearly played in the Dec. 16 District 7-6A opener against Haltom. But her goal is to play in the San Diego tournament this week.
“I was crushed to hear the news,” she said. “But when you’re thinking about the whole season, my doctor said I could try the brace. I talked to my dad about it and thought about it. But the main reason I wanted to play was the fact that it was my senior year.
“I wanted to be a part of it, more than just being a cheerleader. I know this wasn’t going to be the same. But if it meant just playing a few game or practices, I thought it would be worth it.”
There was also some other incentive. She had been playing with Carroll senior point guard Kennedy Leonard since seventh grade at Dawson Middle School. Grubbs wanted to finish what she started.
Carroll coach Teri Morrison said she never influenced Grubbs on her decision. She said she was going to be fine with whatever call Grubbs made. Morrison’s concern was making sure Grubbs had thought through everything clearly.
“It takes a lot of courage to do what she did,” Morrison said. “But I’m not surprised. She has the true gift of being committed to whatever she does on and off the court. She has chemistry with this team. She loves the game. She’s a gifted student. The kind of player you want on your team.”
Whenever Grubbs does return, it’s going to be systematic. By missing so much time, she’s going to have to work on her game conditioning. She will also have to be mindful of her lateral movement. The brace can only do so much. As Morrison said, “When she’s ready, she’ll tell me.”
After school Grubbs has an academic scholarship that she will take to Texas, Georgetown or North Carolina. She plans to study business. For now, the goal is to enjoy every moment.
“You just value the time you have on the court,” Grubbs said. “I think my situation is meaningful because you know fragile it can be. I hope as being a captain, what I’m doing will show some leadership.”
Carroll (11-6, 1-0 in District 7-6A) opened district play with 57-40 victory over Haltom on Dec. 16. Priscilla Smeenge continued her torrid scoring pace with 19 points. The Lady Dragons continued their district season on Dec. 19 against Hurst L.D. Bell.