Refusing to hold back Girls basketball: Now recovered from a serious knee injury, Northwestern's Keisha Todd works to prove that her game is still intact.

February 14, 1997|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Every time Keisha Todd hits the floor, Northwestern girls basketball coach Dwayne Burroughs can't help but wince.

Todd just gets up and jumps right back into the action. Even though she suffered a serious knee injury in a game last year that sidelined her for nine months, the Wildcats senior doesn't think about getting hurt.

L Burroughs, on the other hand, can't help but think about it.

"I'm more worried about it more than she is," said Burroughs. "A lot of kids, usually it bothers them, but with Keisha, she just goes out and plays -- and whatever happens happens. It doesn't affect her one bit.

"Sometimes I start to think if I leave her out there too long and she gets hurt, I won't have her the rest of the year and she might not be able to play in college."

Todd, who carries a 93.7 classroom average, is being courted by several colleges including Bowie State, ranked 17th nationally in NCAA Division II. She's out to prove that she can still play at 100 percent.

She leads the Wildcats (13-3) in almost every statistical category, averaging 19.7 points, 11 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 4.1 steals a game. She shoots 56 percent from the floor and 61 percent from the free-throw line.

"I have confidence," said Todd. "I don't think that I'm going to hurt my knee. When you think like that, that's when it happens."

Still, the memory of the injury remains vivid. It started with a rebound in a game against Western on Feb. 2, 1996.

"When I came down, I didn't fall. I guess I just came down wrong. My knee popped," said Todd. "I walked it off, but when I was walking I could feel something in my knee shifting. Me being the hard-headed person that I am, I went back in the game and jumped again. Then I was through. I couldn't walk."

Not only did she tear the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee, but she also tore the meniscus, the cartilage disk that cushions where the bones meet in the joint. Todd said she later learned that the pop meant the ACL tear and the additional damage probably occurred when she went back into the game.

She needed two operations to repair the damage and has two screws in the knee. Six months of physical therapy followed.

An All-Baltimore City/County volleyball selection as a junior, Todd had to miss the entire Wildcat volleyball season.

Because she already had decided to focus on basketball, the timing of the injury wasn't as bad as it would have been had she opted for volleyball. After this Wildcat season concludes, Todd plans to join Burroughs' Amateur Athletic Union team Free Play, which has finished in the top seven nationally for the past five years.

Burroughs said Todd would be a welcome addition to Free Play, because she excels in so many ways on the court.

"She doesn't stand out at anyone point, because she does everything well," said Burroughs.

The Wildcats have suffered so many injuries that their roster is now down to six. Todd is the one player Burroughs cannot afford to lose -- and not only because she leads the Wildcats in scoring.

"It would really be tough without her, because we would miss the floor general," said Burroughs. "The way she really stands out is her maturity level just taking charge and letting the kids know what to do and what not to do."

Pub Date: 2/14/97

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