Sullivan looks to bounce back after knee surgery

Nathan Miller

Ending a 51-game winning streak to Emporia State wasn’t a fun way to end the basketball season for the Lady Blues. Megan Sullivan, Lady Blues senior forward, says watching from the bench with a knee injury was even worse.

“That was one of the hardest things I had to do, knowing you could be out there with your teammates and helping them win,” said Sullivan. “Seeing them lose was even harder. I would have much rather have them win, and not being able to do anything about it was just horrible.”

Sullivan’s season last year ended prematurely in the final regular season game against Central Missouri when she went down with a knee injury. Sullivan missed the final six games including the 59-61 loss to Emporia State in the Southwest Central Regional Final.

“Last year late in the year we really missed her guarding the big posts,” said Ron McHenry, Lady Blues head coach. “Even though Megan is not a huge kid she’s lengthy and long and plays really smart down there. But that’s where we missed her the most.”

This year Sullivan returns for her final season with the Lady Blues and will once again take the starting position at the No. 5 spot. But is nine months enough time to mend an injury that required surgery? McHenry and Sullivan say no.

“She’s not at 100 percent,” said McHenry. “A lot of people come back in seven, maybe eight months, but everybody I talk to says it’s takes about a year to heal. I don’t ever expect to get her to 100 percent, that’s just not the case, but if we can get her to 85, 90 percent, I’ll take all that, because she is really a smart kid.”

Sullivan played in all three exhibition games and had rather successful nights. But Sullivan says once the adrenaline of the game wears off, she knows she is far from 100 percent.

“It’s kind of a mental thing for me,” said Sullivan. “I don’t feel as confident or quick as I was in the past. It gets sore when we go consecutive days of practice. But in the game it doesn’t bother me that much. But after, it tends to get sore.”

The fact that Sullivan is a nursing student doesn’t help things either. Sullivan participates in clinicals on Mondays and Tuesdays for nine hours a day. After being on her feet for nine hours, she goes to practice.

“That kills me that I am a nursing major,” said Sullivan. “So I’m in clinicals for nine hours a day, just standing on it, it stiffens and swells up. Then I have to come to practice for three hours. But it’s not the end of the world. It will get better, I know it will.”

McHenry even sees the effect clinicals have on Sullivan.

“At times I see some stuff out there on film that she’s back to normal,” said McHenry. “Then there are other times especially right now with her being a nursing student and she’s up on her feet all day, I think that’s tough. To stand up on your knee all day it tends to swell up on you.”

Nonetheless Sullivan keeps at it. That is all McHenry can ask from his four-year senior who had the MIAA seventh highest rebounding average last year.

“She’s a good rebounder, she goes after a lot of balls,” said McHenry. “Even right now, she’s rebounding well.”

As for Sullivan, she knows regardless of what happens with her knee, her teammates can fill the void.

“I was out for six games and they did fine,” said Sullivan. “[Amanda] Holmes moved to the post, and everyone can fill spots. The biggest problem is I’m just not in shape like I used to be. I think once I get back in shape I can get it back up to 95 percent.”