Getting diagnosed with a partially torn medial collateral ligament doesn’t seem like a pleasant way to spend one’s afternoon, but Free State High girls basketball senior Kennedy Kirkpatrick was overjoyed Monday when she received that news.
The Firebirds’ leader and a Bowling Green State University signee, Kirkpatrick injured her left knee Friday night in a home loss against Olathe Northwest.
The pain she felt the moment she was hurt led Kirkpatrick to think the injury could be season-ending. But Monday, after visiting a doctor, she found out she had partially torn her left MCL and no surgery was required. The 5-foot-10 shooting guard just has to refrain from basketball activities for a week and wear a brace on her knee.
“Not too bad,” she said of the diagnosis after watching Monday’s Free State practice.
If the timing goes as planned, Kirkpatrick will return to practice Jan. 21 and be able to play Jan. 24 in the first round of the Firebird Winter Classic. That would mean the only game she would miss is tonight’s home date against Kansas City (Kan.) Washington — tipoff at 7.
FSHS coach Bryan Duncan received the good news Monday afternoon via phone call from Kirkpatrick’s mother, Janette, before Kennedy told all of her teammates.
“Obviously, everyone’s very happy for her and for our team,” Duncan said.
The coach joked the timing of the injury was perfect because the Firebirds (5-3) would only be without their leading scorer for one game.
“In all seriousness, we still want to be cautious,” Duncan said, “and as a coach you want to make sure that we don’t damage that (knee) worse.”
He added no one wants to rush Kirkpatrick back or have her take any unnecessary risks.