Unfortunately, she knows knee woes


Anybody who needs to know how to handle frustration should talk with Valor Christian sophomore Kindyll Wetta. The 5-foot-9 point guard had to overcome adversity last season and has been frustrated again this season.

I recently resumed bowling after three decades and get aggravated each time I have a pocket hit and stick a 10-pin. However, that is nothing compared to the frustrations that Wetta has faced.

Her freshman season was curtailed on Jan. 9, 2018 when she suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus on her left knee. Then after an impressive comeback this season, she tore the ACL on her right knee on December 19, 2018 less than a year after the first injury.

Wetta, who has committed to play basketball at the University of Colorado where her mother Val (Johnson) Wetta played for two seasons, has once again seen her role change this season from being a standout player to leading cheers on the bench.

“It’s definitely hard watching all your teammates play without you and you can’t even run,” she said. “It was a lot harder the first time that it happened. This time around it is a lot easier because I’ve been through it. I’ve got used to cheering on the team.

“I know ACL tears are more common for girls than guys. My dad (Rob) had an ACL tear and my mom tore both of hers. I don’t know if it necessarily is passed down to have weak knees in my genes or whatever. I had never even thought about it before my first one.”

Support from family and friends is helping Wetta’s recoveries.

“There were so many times when I would just recline and ‘why did this happen to me,’” she admitted. “When I’m going through this there are times when it doesn’t seem like I’m going through it and I’m going to wake up.

“My dad sends me a whole bunch of quotes on Twitter and they are motivational quotes. He’s a huge part of how I get through this. He constantly reminds me of what I’m working towards, my goals and everything I want.

“Instead of something that sets me back, it is going to be something that helps me get stronger,” Wetta continued. “I can work on my arm muscles, my touch, I can work on my shooting. He turns it into a very positive thing. That really helps.”

Wetta played 12 games as a freshman before her first knee injury and was averaging 13.4 points, 5.0 assists and 6.1 rebounds.

“I was closing out on a girl when I jumped and it popped,” recalled Wetta. “You could hear it and it hurt really bad.”

She was averaging 18.6 points, 4.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds in her comeback sophomore season, which ended after seven games in the first game of the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas.

“This time all I did was step and it twisted wrong,” she said. “I knew right away. As soon as I went down I was thinking this can’t happen to me again. I’m not even a year out. This is absolutely crazy. I was devastated. I was crying.”

So Wetta is again going through the stages of rehabilitation.

“We were talking to the physical therapist and surgeon afterwards and both times I tore I had ankle braces on,” she said. “The second time I had my ankle taped and it almost restricted my leg from going when it needed to go

“The rehab is hard, it is real hard. This time I’m definitely not in any rush. Last time I was very eager to get back on the court. This time I’m going to let it take as long as it needs and make sure it is healed.

“I’m starting to walk and walk up stairs now. They said straight running is fine, cutting is what they don’t want. I just started biking. My last recovery was eight and half months. This one might be a little bit longer because we want to make sure everything is balanced.”

Maybe there is such a thing as the so-called sophomore jinx, but Wetta is ready to face the challenge of another comeback in the 2019-20 season.

“The first time I was never worried about my knee at all,” said Wetta. “I never had any doubts about it, I knew it was strong. I never thought it was going to happen again. I thought if it did happen again, it was going to be to my left knee.

“I think there will definitely be a little bit more of a hesitation coming back this time. It’s definitely mental. Can I tear it again? It just takes a while for that to kind of go away.”

So if Wetta needs another positive quote and hopefully one she has not seen, this one is from Bo Bennett.

“Frustration, although quite painful at times, is very positive and essential part of success.”

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.


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