Sydney Brackett looks to get most out of injury-shortened senior season

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Sydney Brackett planted her right leg to shoot with her left in practice, as she’d done countless times before. This time, a teammate slid and tackled her. Her right knee buckled, resulting in an MCL injury.It was in practice leading up to Syracuse’s Sept. 15 game with Fordham, and Brackett missed almost a month. She returned on Oct. 10 to play 33 minutes off the bench against Wake Forest.After coming off the bench again three days later against Miami, Brackett drew her first start since September on Saturday against Clemson and played 60 minutes. Her return gives the injury-riddled Syracuse (3-9-2, 1-5-1 Atlantic Coast) offense a much-needed boost as she looks to finish off her senior season.“We’re gonna play her as much as possible until we see she can’t help the team in her full capacity,” head coach Nicky Adams said, noting Brackett’s minutes will be varied accordingly going forward.Throughout high school and the early parts of her college career, Bracket had dealt with nothing worse than an ankle sprain, she said. This MCL injury was the most serious injury she’s ever had.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBrackett had trouble getting comfortable running, cutting and kicking again, all which affected her mentally. She tried several different therapies with varying degrees of success.“The biggest part of the recovery process was wrapping your brain around the fact that it’s not going to be able to move the same as it did two weeks prior to being injured,” Brackett said.Brackett made an instant impact her freshman season, tying the team lead in assists (three). Her sophomore season, she led Syracuse in points (11) and goals (five). In each of her three seasons, Brackett led the team in shots or shots on goal. This year, despite missing five games and being limited in three more, she leads the Orange with 12 shots on goal.Shortly after her injury, she pinpointed a game against Florida State on Sept. 29 for a potential return. But that week in practice, she was still in too much pain and her knee was unstable.Eva Suppa | Digital Design EditorBrackett was, however, able to warm up for the Orange’s next game — Oct. 4 on the road against Notre Dame. Despite Brackett wanting to play, Adams told the senior before FSU that she wasn’t going to play her. She still wasn’t ready, and Brackett agreed.While injured, Brackett watched and helped during special drills for attackers. Adams said she had to once remind Brackett to also take time to focus on herself.“It’s always beneficial to hear voices of people who can see things on the field that you can’t necessarily see when you’re on the field,” junior defender Shannon Aviza said.Brackett said she’s confident in what she can do for the Orange the rest of the season since she’s returned. She now can run a straight shot down the field without issue and is not worried about her pace going forward.In her absence, the Orange scored just one goal off a penalty kick in five games. More of her teammates got injured and the clock continued to tick down on her senior season.“I think there are a lot of reasons and motivators,” Brackett said of her return. “But I think I would have the same initiative in any situation because all you want to do is play.”On a program that’s been defensive-minded for several seasons, Brackett has been a constant motor trying to keep its offense afloat. While Brackett said she’s proud of what she’s accomplished, she said she wishes she did more.“It’s a two-sided coin,” Brackett said. “But I would say it’s a bittersweet ending. I’m so, so grateful for my experience here in every way, but I’m always going to want the most out of myself.”— Asst. digital editor Arabdho Majumder and staff writer Tim Nolan contributed reporting to this story. Comments Published on October 23, 2019 at 11:25 pm Contact Eric: estorms@syr.edulast_img read more

Lakers’ Larry Nance Jr. unfazed about sitting out of NBA Dunk Contest

first_imgPHOENIX >> It hardly seemed to irritate Larry Nance Jr. that he nursed a wrap around a sprained right thumb that he jokingly said stemmed from having a thumb war with Jordan Clarkson.Nance also looked unfazed as he stomached the reality he won’t participate in the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star weekend in New Orleans.“I’m cool with it. It doesn’t bother me at all,” Nance said before the Lakers played the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday at Talking Stick Resort Arena. “My focus is one thing: I just want to win.”Nance received an invitation, but plans became complicated after he missed 16 games because of a bone bruise in his left knee. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“The dunk contest is something I want to do at some point,” Nance said. “It’s not this year, that’s cool. It wasn’t last year, that’s cool. Knock on wood, hopefully I have a long career and have a few years to choose when I want to do it.” It seemed fitting Nance said those words in Phoenix, which is the franchise his father represented when he won the 1984 NBA Dunk Contest. But Nance has morphed into something more than a highlight reel.He sent out a tweet following Tuesday’s loss to Sacramento where he criticized his defense as Kings center DeMarcus Cousins scored 40 points. Nance added on Wednesday that “when I don’t reach the expectations set by myself, I get upset, especially defensively.”“Larry’s very critical of himself, to a fault,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “He’s one of our best players, he’s out there always trying to make the right plays and the right reads. Sometimes he’s too hard on himself. You want guys to be hard on themselves because that motivates you to get better and to work harder. I like taking accountability, but it’s not his fault at all.”Though the Lakers said the second unit has taken a by-committee approach, Walton has liked how Nance’s hustle and team play have set a good example. He has raised his voice to his teammates about improving on transition defense, hustling and “the little things.”center_img And to, think, the Harlem Globetrotters actually drafted Nance to play before the Lakers selected him 27th overall in 2015. Nance said he was selected on a team that also included pop star Justin Bieber and U.S. women’s soccer player Alex Morgan. “I was assuming I was there because I can jump,” Nance said. “I’m assuming I was there because I’m the only one that has any ties to basketball. It’s more of a formality, but I’d still love to rock the Globetrotters jersey.”Nance received some early training at least. Harlem Globetrotters player Anthony “Buckets” Blakes showed Nance some tricks following practice at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. Incidentally, both went to the University of Wyoming in different stints. Hence, Blakes has admired Nance’s game from afar, including his one-handed dunk this season over Brooklyn center Brook Lopez. “For you to take off on a veteran like that and make the other bench go [crazy], that’s a confidence builder,” Blakes said. “But he doesn’t mind on dunking on anybody in the first place. He’s a big guy, rebounder and hustler. With his added jump shot and bounce in his step, he’ll be in this league for a long time.”All of which leaves Nance plenty of time to provide in a highlight reel in a future NBA dunk contest. “When I want to do it, the invitation will be there,” Nance said. “I’ve set a pretty good standard.” last_img read more