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The last seven months have had their share of highs and lows for Grant County High School girls basketball senior Candace Gorby.
The lowest of the lows wasnt the fact she tore her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) during a 49-25 loss to Pendleton County on Jan. 15.
Instead, rock bottom came when Gorby, a self-described "gym rat," was told her season was over and rather than dressing out for games, she was forced to sitting on the sidelines and cheering her teammates on.
"The last several months have been hard. The pain of being told my season was over hurt more than the injury. The pain didn't hurt that bad," Gorby said.
While the pain in her knee didn't hurt, the weeks following and the weeks leading up to her release, which came on July 16, have been the toughest.
"Watching us play and knowing I couldn't help the girls was tough. Now, I feel like I can play, but I can't. It's been extremely tough to sit and watch the game go by. It has given me a new appreciation of it," Gorby said.
The pain of not having Gorby in the lineup was also felt by coach Darrell Guffey.
"We missed her a lot last season. When we lost her, we changed as a team. I am happy to have her back," Guffey said.
During that January night against Pendleton County, Gorby suffered a complete tear of her ACL and a partial tear of her meniscus. What has ensued since then has been seven months of physical therapy and rehabilitation with the goal of strengthening Gorby's knee in time for the start of soccer season next month. She has played soccer since she was in kindergarten.
"Physical therapy was tough because they push you. It's about doing repetitions. It can get boring after a while, but I have to do it. My knee feels great and the doctor says it is better than before," Gorby said, looking at the scar on her knee from where she had surgery.
Following the surgery earlier this year, Gorby began getting back into the gym, working on her basketball game with the hope of picking up where she left off in January.
"I started slow with several easy shots. I have now begun shooting three-pointers normally. It has been a long process," Gorby said.
The process has resulted in Gorby being named as an All-Star member, where she will represent the 8th Region Saturday, July 19, at Bellarmine University for the 5th and 6th Region vs. the 7th and 8th Region All-Star game.
While she has played basketball on the varsity level for some time, Gorby admits she is nervous about stepping onto the court in her first game back since her injury.
"I am not sure how I will compete after not playing for several months. It's cool and flattering to be chosen considering I didn't play the entire season. It is exciting to know I will be playing with and against some of the best players in the state," Gorby said, who was chosen for the team by the 8th Region coaches.
Gorby's nerves also center around her knee and the scar she carries.
"There's been some fear of reinjuring the knee. I have to get back into my competitive mode, and then I'll be fine. I am not going to wear a brace this season because if it's going to tear again, it's going to tear again and a brace will not matter," Gorby said.
To make matters better, Gorby will be coached by a familiar face—Guffey, who was selected as the 8th Region coach.
"It's pretty cool to be going with coach," Gorby said.
Guffey considers the selection an honor.
"It's huge for Candace. She is a great kid who works hard and is deserving of everything she is getting. She doesn't know the word quit," Guffey said.