Injury ended basketball season for Phifer before it really even started

Montoya Whitfield

When you think of athletes some of the first things that come to mind are the shoe deals, fancy cars and nice clothes. The downsides to all of those things are the injuries that some of the athlete’s sustain while playing the sport they love.

Washburn men’s basketball player Frank Phifer was injured during the first week of school. Phifer broke his fibula bone and tore several ligaments while playing a game of pick-up basketball. Phifer will be out for the season and will have to medical red-shirt this year.

“I admit, when I first found out that I hurt myself, my confidence went way down. I was scared because it was my last year, and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play next year,” said Phifer.

Phifer attended Kentucky Wesleyan University last year where he played one season then decided to transfer to Washburn after a change of coaching staff at Kentucky Wesleyan.

“I wish I could play this year. I know I am a big part of the team, and with it being my last year, I wanted to go out with a bang,” said Phifer.

He has already had one surgery so far, which has caused him to have eight metal pins placed in his leg. Two of the pins will be removed sometime in January but six will remain for the rest of his life.

Phifer considered himself a significant figure on the team because a lot of the offense would have been ran through him on the court. That is part of the reason why he chose to come to Washburn along with the fact that he got along with the players and coaches and was ready to play after sitting out last semester.

“My teammates are going to have to step up and make a difference without me, and I have confidence they will. Defensively I know I would have been a big threat under the basket for them also,” said Phifer. “I like my teammates this year, and I really planned on playing with them. I’m anxious to play next year, but I don’t know what next year’s team will be like.”

After his teammates found out he broke his leg, some were worried about where the team would stand from there.

“We will be more of a running team, meaning we will be trying to be more of a fast break team offensively because our guys are smaller now,” said Ewan Auguste men’s assistant coach. “We will be counting on freshman Dillon, sophomore and Brady, to fill the role of Phifer.”

Auguste expressed that Phifer’s presence will be missed on the court this season. On a more positive note, Auguste adds, they still have a lot of talent on the team so they will be fine.

“It is important Phifer as well as all athletes with injuries try to begin rehab as soon as possible, because the longer an athlete takes to begin the rehab the longer the process takes to fully recover strength,” said Dr. Steve Ice, head trainer.

Washburn Ichabod football player Trent Hearn suffered from a similar injury last season, only he strained his syndesmotic ligament and Phifer tore his. According to Ice, Hearn wasn’t able to play at 90 plus percent until four months later during the season at the Mineral Water bowl.

“A debilitating high ankle sprain or tear like Phifer’s can complicate a player for at least several months or maybe even a year before they can be considered healthy,” said Ice.

Phifer recognizes the importance of rehabbing his injury and works toward getting better everyday. After finishing up his athletic career at Washburn, Phifer plans to play ball overseas.