On June 13 in an AAU game against Houston Hoops, Houston North Shore small forward Jarrey Foster’s ACL gave out.
On July 23 he underwent surgery to repair the completely torn ligament and began the slow, grueling journey back to the sport he loved.
Once Foster started playing basketball in the seventh grade, the game became everything to him. Nothing has been harder on him since his injury than having to watch his teammates from the sideline.
“The first month was the hard,” Foster says. “But now, five months in, this is the hardest. Just everyday constantly doing the same things it’s hard. You have to stop everything and you want to quit sometimes. I used to think about how hard it’d be to go through something like this, but I never thought it would happen to me. I was at a point where I had to take a break- I took two days off because I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do it anymore. But I got back on track and went back to work.”
As Foster grinds towards recovery one of the biggest constants along the way has been SMU head coach Larry Brown.
“Every time we talk, the first thing he’d ask is “how’s your leg doing?” Foster says. “Every time we’d talk he’d give words of encouragement.”
Foster signed with SMU back in November. The 2015 North Shore guard joins a talented recruiting class for SMU, highlighted by its guards.
“Ever since I signed it’s been real smooth- I’ve been happy,” Foster says. “I’ve been going to rehab. I’m back on the court doing drills- not too much cutting or anything like that, so more ball handling and shooting drills.”
More recently Foster made a trip to SMU when the Mustangs hosted Midwestern State on Dec. 29.
“I had a basketball tournament up in Allen and after the game I went to SMU,” he said. “I was walking through Moody Coliseum, with a North Shore shirt on and some people stopped me. They asked what NS meant and when I told them North Shore, they were like, “Oh, you’re Foster!” That made me feel really good, you know that people recognized me. And watching the game after that got me even more hyped because I’ll be there next year.”
Foster’s brother didn’t get to join him when he made his official visit, but was on the Hilltop for the MSU game.
“Once he was on the campus he was so proud of me because of how great the school is,” Foster says. “He didn’t really know about it. He knew it was good, but once he saw it, he was so happy for me. It’s beyond words- I am so happy knowing that I’ll be there, getting an education like that.”
Now, Foster is five months into the rehab process, but isn’t sure when he will be completely ready to play again.
“I have some doctors telling me it could take between six to nine months or nine to twelve depending on the injury, and how your rehab is going,” he says. “I feel like, I’m just going to take my time and wait until the doctor tells me I’m ready. Then I’m going to decide for myself if I’m ready or not- just take my time through this process. I’m not going to rush through it or anything so I can be ready for college basketball.”
Foster isn’t worried about the injury affecting his future in basketball. In fact, he thinks it will help him.
“[Dealing with the injury] is hard, but it will strengthen me mentally and make me stronger,” he says. “I feel like I’m going to come back, if not as the same person then stronger. I’m going to be better at different things I wasn’t looking at before. Now I’m worried about all the different little things like cutting and all the other little things.”
Fighting through an injury and going through the rehab process is tough. For Foster it would have been even tougher if not for the possible future waiting for him at SMU.
“I tell my family every day that I have five more months- because I’ll be going to summer school at SMU right after graduation,” he says. “The best part of [knowing where I’m going] is that it makes everything else easier right now. It lets me enjoy my senior year more. I’m not playing basketball right now and that makes it harder, but knowing that I’ll be playing somewhere and that someone gave me the opportunity that takes away the pain of not playing. I talk about it every day. I can’t wait.”