Feb. 4, 2010
TEMPE, Ariz. - In a move that has caught doctors, trainers and even her own team off guard, Sara Mosiman has been cleared to return to competition for the Washington women's basketball team.
The senior has not played since Dec. 4, where prolonged pain from shin splints led to a titanium rod inserted into her right tibia. Her original goal was to return - if possible - for senior night against Oregon on March 7. But she was cleared this week after an x-ray showed the titanium rod had settled correctly. Mosiman gave credit to the procedure, which was not as debilitating as her first one two years ago in her left leg. But others around the Washington program noted her work ethic in rehab, where she could be spotted in the training room as much as four times a day.
"I felt really good to do it for myself," Mosiman said. "I had a lot of people telling me I wasn't going to play. The rehab put that back in my hands and it was good to do it for myself and shut out the voices. Coming back this early is an extra perk."
Mosiman could potentially play in tonight's game against Arizona State at Wells Fargo, but will likely be eased into the lineup after a nine-week absence. She went through the full shootaround on Thursday morning in Tempe.
At the time, the injury came as a disappointment, having stalled what was a career season for the Seattle native. Mosiman was the third-leading scorer for the Huskies (7.5 ppg) and had won the starting slot at the No. 2 guard after her exemplary play in the preseason. When multiple doctors recommended surgery, fearing stress fractures, Mosiman said it was hard not to think her basketball career might be over.
Mosiman said she had some "dark days" post surgery, but those feeling lifted when she began the rehab process. Her plan, which was green-lighted by trainer Jenn Ratcliff from the onset, called to push the rehab as much as possible with the goal to return in March. Soon, she shed the cumbersome boot and crutches and had started conditioning on the exercise bike. Once her range of motion improved Ratcliff felt optimistic about an earlier return.
"We wanted to push it as fast as she could push it," Ratcliff said. "But for her to come back four weeks early, it's pretty incredible. It speaks to her work ethic. She's one of those kids that are really determined, and once she gets something in her mind there is no stopping her."
Another reason Mosiman pushed herself to return was to walk out with her original senior class (Sami Whitcomb and Laura McLellan) on their final home game. She had contemplated the idea of asking the NCAA for a medical redshirt, but she noted it wouldn't feel right to leave with another class.
"I really feel like I had a lot to give this season," Mosiman said. "I didn't want to throw away all the hard work I did in the preseason to prepare myself. Plus, I love my seniors and I wanted to go out with them."