Tucker returns from injury to get back on the court for the Comets

Rahul Parikh | Sports Editor

Sade Tucker is back.

Tucker, a senior guard for the Mason girls basketball team, completely tore her left ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in April of 2018, during an Amatuer Athletic Union (AAU) game, and now is healthy and playing with the team . Tucker said that when the injury initially happened, she was devastated, but sought for a way to continue to play. 

Senior guard Sade Tucker battled back from an ACL injury to return to the court for the Comets.

“I was very distraught at first, an ACL injury is one of the last things I could’ve wanted,” Tucker said. “But I’m an optimist, and I knew that God would help me through this, and I could keep pushing. I kept researching on ways to play without my ACL and if it was even possible.”

Instead of surgery, Tucker opted to continue to play without her ACL through a rare mechanism in which ‘copers’, or other muscles around the area, compensate for where the ACL was located. 

“My injury was a contact injury, which is very rare for an ACL injury,” Tucker said. “Only a small percentage of people are in this category who have the ability to work through this injury without surgery, because my muscles could take the place of the ACL.”

Tucker’s decision to come back without surgery comes with benefits, but inevitable risks as well. Tucker said her choice of returning to basketball, was contingent on knowing her work ethic and her future in basketball.

“If I would have had surgery, I wouldn’t have healed until almost a year. Working with our trainer, Kathy Bernard, 2-3 times a day was what I wanted to do, because I was able to return just 2 months after bursting my ACL,” Tucker said. “ I still work with Kathy everyday on just getting stronger, but ultimately what went into my decision was that I wanted to get my college paid for, which has always been my objective from basketball.”

For Tucker, this decision was not an easy one, and not one she could make without others input. Tucker said she seeked her mom’s opinion, and was surprised by her response. 

“My mom Rachel was actually extremely supportive when I brought her this idea of playing without surgery,” Tucker said. “I was very thankful in that she supported my decision and let me play through it, even though she knew it was uncommon for someone to play without an ACL.”

 Tucker’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. Teammate Megan Wagner, who is the starting point guard for the Girls basketball team, said that she has been nothing short of amazed by the progress and dedication that Tucker has maintained throughout this process. 

“The one word that comes to my mind is just ‘fight’,” Wagner said. “ We all thought she wasn’t going to be able to come back at the beginning of the season, so to see her continuously work and sacrifice for us has been incredible.”

Before Tucker’s injury, her game was known to be very quick,  frequently getting to the basket and always putting pressure on defenders. An ACL injury inevitably affects her lateral quickness and explosiveness. Tucker said that the injury does not change her game much, but she’s been working on other aspects of her game to make up for it. 

“It hasn’t really changed my game drastically, but my lateral movement has slowed a little bit,” Tucker said. “I’ve developed a midrange game which is easier on my knees, and a better jump shot will make me be more effective.”

Wagner said that watching Tucker adjust her game and develop her jump shot has been an awesome process to watch. Even though results haven’t been immediate, Wagner said that Tucker’s work ethic will continue to push her and eventually see success. 

“Obviously with her injury her shot has been a little off and she’s been working on fixing that a lot, “ Wagner said. “Her drive to continue and constant dedication of getting better will show her all the results that she wants, it’s truly remarkable.”

Photo by Tanner Pearson.