By Jim Mandelaro
Democrat and Chronicle
(February 27, 2003) — Caitlin Howe recently was talking with her mother about
the series of knee injuries that have stalled her standout basketball career.
“There are some things I’m very good at,” said the former Fairport High star,
“but one thing I’m great at is rehab.”
Howe will have to be great again. On Tuesday, she was hit with another setback
to her star-crossed career when an MRI exam revealed a tear in the anterior
cruciate ligament in her right knee.
She suffered the injury in a Valentine’s Day practice with Duke University,
when 6-foot-3 center Brooke Smith ran into her tender knee while Howe went
after a loose ball.
“It was a real vicious hit,” said Howe’s mom, Lisa.
The freshman guard actually returned to practice two days later, but
persistent pain forced her to seek medical attention, and the MRI revealed the
She also tore that ACL twice in high school -- in a state quarterfinal game on
March 11, 2001, and exactly nine months later in the first game of her senior
year at Fairport.
Except for an exhibition game back in the fall, she has yet to play for Duke
University, ranked second in the nation. Now, she will be out until at least
Howe was traveling with the Blue Devils on Wednesday for their game tonight at
Florida State and could not be reached for comment.
“She was really sad and she cried,” said Lisa Howe. “But Caitlin is the most
resilient person I know. I asked her, ‘Do you still want to play basketball?’
And she said, ‘You betcha.’ “
Howe was the most widely recruited female basketball player in Section V
history, choosing Duke over national powers Connecticut and Notre Dame. She
was a two-time All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year and a six-year member
of the Fairport varsity, scoring 2,001 points in her career.
She is scheduled to undergo surgery in two weeks at Duke University Medical
Center, then begin yet another arduous rehabilitation program.
“She works like a fiend,” said Lisa Howe. “She’s always rehabbing. She just
hasn’t had much to show for it (on the court).”
If Howe returns to the court next season, she will be considered a freshman
Athletic scholarships are renewed on a yearly basis, but it is extremely
doubtful Duke would rescind its scholarship to Howe. “They don’t take away
someone’s scholarship unless they’re a problem,” said Lisa Howe. “I have no
doubt she’ll stay at Duke for four years, and they’ll pay for (her tuition).”