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Reed's Williams taking ACL rehab slow and steady
by Damian Tromerhauser
May 23, 2013 | 2213 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo - As a sophomore in 2012 (pictured here) Reed's Gabby Williams won the Nevada D-I state high jump championship. She missed the 2013 track season and is recovering after tearing her ACL in January.
Tribune file photo - As a sophomore in 2012 (pictured here) Reed's Gabby Williams won the Nevada D-I state high jump championship. She missed the 2013 track season and is recovering after tearing her ACL in January.
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With members of the Reed High track and field team in Las Vegas last weekend for the Division I State Championships, Gabby Williams welcomed any distraction there was. Luckily her job kept her mind from dwelling on the state meet. Still, the standout RHS basketball and track star couldn’t help but ponder what could have been.

“I was getting updates, but I was kind of distracted with work which was probably a good thing,” Williams said. “It was still hard seeing that I could beat those times. I’ve kind of gotten used to it though. It was frustrating at first, but I’m kind of used to it now. It’s just in the back of my mind now.”

Williams, who was averaging 28 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five blocks for the Reed girls basketball team before tearing her ACL against Reno on January 19, has been rehabbing her knee in preparation to return to the Raiders for her senior season. While Williams said her rehab has been the easiest part of her road to recovery, she said resisting the urge to play the game she loves has been a different story.

“Being patient has been the hardest part for me,” Williams said. “I’ve been doing pretty well not pushing too hard. I don’t have a problem as far as not wanting to do something or being afraid to do something. The biggest problem I have is keeping myself from doing something because I’m so impatient and so ready to go do it.

“I’m aware that your body plays tricks on you, because it feels like it's fine and I feel like I could just go run a mile right now, but you have to know that you can’t until you get permission. Sometimes I just want to grab a ball and go to the gym and go crazy. It’s hard to mentally restrain yourself from thinking like that, but I know if I go and do that, then I will have to wait even longer. I’ve been good about not pushing it though because I know what can happen. I’m excited to go to the next step though.”

That next step will take Williams from an underwater treadmill to outside. For the past three weeks Williams has been running on an underwater treadmill for up to 20 minutes with no pain as she gets back into shape and works on her cardio.

In two weeks, Williams, who made a verbal commitment to the University of Connecticut, will meet once again with her doctor to determine if she can leave the underwater treadmill and begin rehab activities outside. Whether or not Williams can proceed to the next stage of her rehab will depend on if the graft in her knee has developed. She is crossing her fingers, hoping there are no setbacks.

“We just have to make sure that my graft is mature,” Williams said. “I’m hoping I can. My therapist is pretty sure the doctor will say yes because I’ve been doing pretty well. I’m just really excited to start running outside finally.

“It usually takes about four months, and I’ll be at four months in two weeks. They do a test to see how far the knee goes out. My left knee goes out five millimeters and last time my right knee went out five millimeters too. Before surgery it was at 10 millimeters because I had nothing to keep it from going out. So as long as it is clicking right and stable, I’m on track.”

Should Williams’ knee be ready, she will begin with slow jogging to get her knee re-acclimated to the stress of running on ground. Williams said she is eager to begin the process of conditioning herself out of the water.

“There’s nothing you can do besides running to get into running shape. We’re going to start slow and build from there,” she said. “The underwater-treadmill and cycling has helped a lot because it got my graft used to that feeling and motion. So my body and my knee is getting used to the motion of running again, but it’s still not the same. We just have to go day by day.”

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