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02/06/03 Duke's Howe might redshirt

By Jim Mandelaro
Democrat and Chronicle


(February 7, 2003) Caitlin Howe is a Blue Devil, but she soon may be a redshirt.

The former Fairport High basketball star has not played for national power Duke this year because of a lingering knee injury. She says she is open to the possibility of sitting out the season and playing the next four years.

As time passes, there is a greater chance, she says. If we get into March and Im not playing, Id say there is a great chance Id redshirt.

Howe still plans to graduate in four years. If she redshirted this season, she would be a freshmen eligiblity-wise next year.

Athletic scholarships are renewable every season. Duke coach Gail Goestenkors has guaranteed Howe four years at the Durham, N.C., school, but would have to OK a fifth year.

The Blue Devils, ranked No. 2 nationally, have seven regular-season games remaining before the ACC Tournament begins March 7 in Greensboro, N.C.

Howe tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee twice in high school.

She played in Dukes first exhibition game this year, scoring five points in 13 minutes against Team Concept, but felt her knee shift.

She hasnt played since, although she now runs full practices with the team, usually playing with men against the Duke starters.

She dresses for games but says she is not ready to play.

My knee is so much better, but there are still times when it will sort of slip, says Howe, a two-time All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year selection. Its what I was having problems with before.

Im really in uncharted waters. I dont know how the knee will respond.

Howe remains confident that ultimately everything will work out.

I know whats going to happen, she says. Its just whether it happens in a week, a month or a year.

E-mail address: jmand@DemocratandChronicle.com