Carmichaels’ Cree returning despite ACL injury

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Carmichaels senior Anna Cree knows she’s taking a rather sizable risk.


She simply doesn’t care.


Cree, who tore the ACL in her left knee during a season-opening loss to Belle Vernon, will attempt to play again this girls basketball season after receiving medical clearance – more like begging for it – Friday and successfully completing a practice yesterday morning.


The Mikes (2-1, 11-2) host Jefferson-Morgan Monday, and Cree plans on suiting up for the first time since Dec. 7.


Cree had been expected to miss the entire season.


“Tearing your ACL is about the worst thing you can do to your knee,” Cree said. “If I do anything else, I already did the worst of it.”


To be clear, the ACL is not healed. Far from it, actually.


“I saw my MRI, and it’s just empty space,” Cree said. “The doctor was very, very apprehensive about writing that I was clear to play.”


But Cree, apparently, was able to make a convincing enough argument.


Now she won’t miss her entire senior season and can help Carmichaels compete for the Section 3-A title.


It also creates the possibility that Cree (824 career points) could reach the 1,000-point mark, which teammate and best friend Morgan Berardi did earlier this season.


Provided Carmichaels plays in at least one playoff game – essentially a certainty – Cree would need to average 17.6 points per game to get there.


“Whenever I first hurt it, I could barely walk,” said Cree, who will wear a hefty brace. “But each week I got better and better to where I couldn’t even tell that there was anything wrong. That brace holds everything in place. That was my only issue, that everything moves freely. But the brace holds everything in place.”


Cree also plays softball for Carmichaels and has thought about playing basketball in college, though if something happens to change either of those things, she’s OK with that.


“It’s my senior year. This is everything I’ve worked for and anticipated,” Cree said. “I feel like if I got through the rest of basketball season and someone told me that I couldn’t play softball or college basketball, I’d be OK with that.”


For Carmichaels, it’s one heck of a trade-deadline acquisition.


“I guess it’s the professional sports equivalent of making that big trade at the deadline,” said Mikes coach Jim Lane. “We just added another scorer to the mix. That’s definitely nice and definitely something we need for the stretch run. I’m happy for her.


“We’re going to take it one game at a time and see how she does, but I know she’s thrilled that she can come back and help her team make a run at this section championship.”


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