There's a strong possibility that neither Chelsea Campbell nor Annika Selvick will play collegiate basketball. They were more worried about the current hoops campaign anyway, one that either or both could have missed, too.
You see, the New Berlin Eisenhower teammates suffered anterior cruciate ligament injuries to their left knees, putting their senior seasons in jeopardy.
Campbell went down Feb. 12 in a contest at Cudahy. Meanwhile, Selvick suffered the same fate in the Lions' WIAA Division 2 soccer sectional semifinal loss to Waukesha Catholic Memorial on May 29.
They have endured arduous rehabilitation efforts in order to play and help their team one last time.
Campbell underwent surgery March 20, the day before spring break. It was the same knee that she had injured less severely as a sophomore, so she knew right away what had happened.
"I was coming over to help out and jumped up to block the shot, and I landed falling backward and as soon as I hit the floor I knew that it was my ACL because I heard the pop that they told me about," Campbell said. "I didn't suffer much swelling, but they waited as a precautionary measure. I had a lot of pain after surgery, and the first couple of days were terrible."
However, Campbell fought through it, the first month on crutches and then several rehab sessions per week for nearly four months to build back the muscles and regain her flexibility and agility.
She started shooting in July and began jogging and running after that. Campbell was on target to hit the courts again at the start of the season, but bad luck bit her again. She was diagnosed with mononucleosis and may not return to action again until after the holidays.
Coach Gary Schmidt said that the Lions miss her contributions in so many ways.
"Chelsea is a competitive, spirited team player who works hard to win on and off the court," Schmidt said. "She rebounds, plays defense and is a good shooter. She's an athlete who gets up and down the court and provides us with a lot of energy. The knee injury was bad enough, but then this. And that's why I'm proud of her because a lot of kids would have found it easy to give up, but Chelsea comes to practice with a smile on her face. She's got a lot of gifts."
Schmidt echoed those sentiments concerning Selvick, who missed the volleyball season while vigorously trying to get back for her favorite sport. In addition to her ACL, Selvick also suffered a partial tear of her medial collateral ligament and her meniscus.
"I'm particularly surprised at how Annika has recovered so quickly because usually that injury takes at least six months," Schmidt said. "She's doing what she can, but we naturally are working her back slowly. She's behind on the court and faces a lot of obstacles, and that's frustrating for her. But she's another kid who just doesn't give up. She has to get comfortable wearing that brace. They're doing little things for us that make us a batter team, and even though they don't see it yet, I sure do."
Selvick, who played a combined eight minutes in her first two contests, said that she pushed herself so hard because she simply loves the game.
"I was only on crutches about a week, but I pretty much had to relearn how to walk and everything, but I did leg presses, jumped rope, balancing and anything to rebuild the muscles," she said. "I worked hard because I knew every day I was getting closer and closer to getting back, and that's what motivated me and helped me pick myself up."
Selvick had received recruiting interest from some Division 2 and 3 schools, but there's no doubt that the injury will affect any future possibilities. However, she would like attend a bigger school and is looking at Minnesota and Wisconsin, where she might tackle the physical therapy field. She could have Campbell to tag along with again as the latter is hoping to attend the UW and study medicine of some sort.
But that's down the road. For now, they are only focused on playing for the Lions.
"It was tough because I had just gotten a starting position," Campbell said of her injury. "But I learned a lot sitting on the bench because I could see what I and the team could do to get better. I think we have a chance to be a great team. I figured I had no choice but to do the rehab, and you can't rehab at 50 percent. It was a great learning experience for me."
"I just knew that I could back," Selvick said. "I never doubted myself, and that's why I tried so hard. Playing again was always in the back of my mind."