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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

February 18, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Washington freshman Liz Lay talks about knee injury

LizLay.jpgIt’s almost natural for Washington post Liz Lay to wonder “what if” given that her team is on a 12-game losing streak and she probably could have red-shirted the season due to rehabilitating from knee surgery last February.
“It was a big consideration for me,” Lay said on Tuesday. “I thought it would have been best for me. But after playing and stuff, I’m happy to be back in playing because a lot of people thought I wasn’t going to be playing again. Red-shirting was an option, but now that I’m playing I don’t regret it at all.”
Lay, who returned January 30, admitted on Tuesday that sometimes she’s hesitant to jump for rebounds in a pack of players because that’s how she suffered the injury while playing high school. “I’m going to stand this one out,” she said of what she thinks sometimes during games.
The native Oklahoman, who’s part of an intriguing UW future with local freshman Kristi Kingma, knows she could have done more with a red-shirt year. Lay currently says she’s about 70 percent healthy.
“One, I would be getting in shape because my conditioning is nowhere near [the rest of the team] because I wasn’t running at all when they were running their miles,” Lay said. “That alone is frustrating because I want to go longer than I can [in games]. Also, I’m trying to play like I used to — not think about the injury at all — but there are times where I’m jumping for a rebound and I’m like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to jump right now.'”
Lay was cleared by doctors to play and woven into the lineup slowly by coach Tia Jackson. The 6-foot-1 post has appeared in 14 games, starting five and averaging 3.5 points and 2.6 boards in an average 10.7 minutes.
Given that no one knew how the season would go in January, Jackson said she wouldn’t have gone against doctors and red-shirted Lay. In fact, in a December interview, Jackson said plainly that she didn’t bring Lay to Washington to sit her out a year.
“As long as the doctors gave her the go-ahead, she’s fine,” said Jackson, who added that she thought Lay would be in a better place by this time. “Yeah, [the injury has held her back], but I honestly think that Liz has gained some unbelievable experience during this time. I know through the adversity that she’s faced with this injury that she’s only going to be a more phenomenal player next year.”
Jackson has worked with Lay, understanding the player has a whole career ahead of her. Especially since Jackson has suffered knee injuries herself. Depending on how the Huskies do in the Pac-10 tournament, Jackson will give the players a month off and then train hard for about three months — until school ends. During the period, Jackson wants Lay’s leg to get stronger and work on the player’s conditioning.
“We came to a level of agreement and it ended up that I was playing,” said Lay, who is looking forward to next season. “[Fans] can expect me to be in shape and I hope people see that I’m giving 100 percent when I’m out there and hopefully things start going our way. That’s what I want fans to just expect. We’re all going to come back working twice as hard.”

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