Shanna Crossley Discusses Her Injury and Returning To Tulsa

Historically, there has only been one way in which Shanna Crossley has dealt with difficulty and challenges in her life – a huge smile.

Her latest setback – a tear in her left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that required season-ending surgery on January 26 was faced no differently by the always jubilant Crossley.

“I don’t look at it as I have bad knees,” Crossley said. “It’s just that my body didn’t adapt to the stresses. It might be the best thing to happen - yeah I’ll be out of the game for awhile but I’ll use this time to rest my body and let it catch up.”

[Related Story: Shanna Crossley To Miss 2011 Season ]

Three years ago, Crossley also tore her left ACL causing her to miss the 2008 season. After an off-season of recovery, she returned to the court in 2009 only to tear her meniscus in the same left knee, holding her to just 20 games for the season. However, unlike her previous injuries, Crossley feels more confident in her body and knee while keeping in perspective the nature of the injury.

“This time around, I’m not gonna say it’s not going to be difficult but it’s a matter of you getting over the hump and trusting it (knee) again,” Crossley said. “I never felt it was weak and was going to give out. It didn’t blow out. It just wore out.”

Crossley, a University of Tennessee graduate, started 16 of the 30 games she appeared in for the Shock in 2010. In 21.3 minutes/game, she averaged 9.7 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists while shooting a team best 42.2 percent from three.

Although she attributes the injury to wear and tear over the last two-and-a-half years of playing professional basketball, Crossley attributes the realization of the injury to a distinct play in Turkey this past fall when she jumped for a tipped ball, when her knee was awkwardly bumped in the air by an opposing player who then fell on her after the contact. Three doctors and three different diagnoses later, Crossley’s left ACL was the culprit again.

Crossley is scheduled to be off crutches this week and will then work on getting building up her muscle memory and range of motion in a series of “monotonous exercises.” She will be able to get back on the court to work on light basketball drills in two-three months and will be cleared to play after being off crutches for six months. Anticipating another round of mentally straining rehab and conditioning, the thought of retiring did cross Crossley’s mind but the allure of playing basketball again is too strong to overcome.

[Related Story: Crossley discusses trade to the Shock and recovering from injuries. ]

“There was a time when I was thinking about things and you never know but I love Tulsa, it was so good to me last year, even though we didn’t win a lot last year, for my personal start and career, it re-motivated me, it jumpstarted me,” Crossley said. “I’m only 27 and I have lot to give and I never foresaw my career ending on an injury. In my heart I know if I have another shot at it, I want to pursue that.”

Currently, Crossley is alternating between spending time at home in Indiana and in Knoxville, TN, for rehab and training with her college trainer at the University of Tennessee, Jenny Moshak, who guides her through lifts and swimming exercises (minus the kick) but anticipates being back in Tulsa to support her team and city once the season begins in June.

“I look forward to coming back to Tulsa this summer I still want to be part of the Tulsa Family,” Crossley said. “I’m definitely going to still be around but I’m just not going to be wearing number 0 on the court this year.”