Tre Kelley: "God answered my prayers"

Tre Kelley prayed. He was supposed to be sidelined with a serious knee injury, and informed sources were saying that he needed surgery to repair the injury. Instead, he played the point for 37 minutes against the snarling, trapping defense of Kansas Sunday afternoon, one of the most storied teams in basketball. Kelley said after the game, "He definitely answered my prayers."

Early reports from inside the USC basketball locker room had been grim. The senior point guard and leader of this year's team, the one man the Gamecocks could absolutely not do without, had been seriously injured. Insiders to the program stated he had a tear in the knee that needed surgery, surgery that would put him out for 4-5 weeks crucial weeks of the season, something Kelley himself confirmed after the game. Expectations were that he would play little, if any against 8th ranked Kansas. For the first time in his four year career at South Carolina, he missed a game on Wednesday against Western Carolina.

Kelley started the game against Kansas, and didn't come out at all until very late in the game. Coach Dave Odom said after the game, "The good Lord is working on him. It's amazing."

The Fellowship of Christian Athlete's publication, "Sharing the Victory," told about a 10-day basketball mission trip to the Dominican Republic with Score International in 2004, after Tre's freshman year of college. While on the trip, he accepted Christ. "God had a plan to make me a stronger and better person," Tre said at the time.

Two and a half years later, Tre was relying on his young faith, adamant that he was not going to have surgery, that he was asking God to heal his knee instead. "I told the trainers, I told the doctors, and I told coach I'm fine." He said. "I want to be out there to help my basketball team, so put me out there. I don't want surgery, I want to go out there and play." "I don't know if He (completely) healed it yet, but He made it possible for me to go out there and play." Kelley said.

"God has definitely given me a great chance to come back and help my team," he said. "Just to be out on the court, I thank God for a chance to be able to come back and play. Basketball could have been taken away from me for four to six weeks with surgery. I definitely thank Him every morning and every night before I go to bed. He's played a big part in me coming back; I definitely thank Him for that. Like Coach (Odom) said, He has definitely answered my prayers, and enabled me to come back and play."

Kelley smiled as he said, "My knee feels great. All you guys keep on asking me, and I just keep on. Every two or three minutes somebody like the trainer is asking. I'm fine, no pain at all. I'm not thinking about it during the game, I just need to get my stamina up and my conditioning up." He said.

In fact, fatigue was Kelley's only complaint. "It was amazing how much a week can take away from your conditioning, my fatigue really caught up with me." he said. "When asked if he had any fear playing with the injury, he replied, "Not at all."

The Gamecocks could not claim a victory after the game with Kansas, but Tre Kelley could. His ability to play at all will surely be counted as a victory, both for what he brings to his team and for his testimony, as he shares what God did for him.

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