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Keystone’s Weaver Still Has Big Goals Despite Losing Basketball Season to Knee Injury

KNOX, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Jozee Weaver clutched at her left knee in agony in the middle of the night.

The simple act of rolling over in bed caused her kneecap to dislocate.

“It’s excruciating when it happens,” Weaver said. “The best way I can describe it as is the pain of shin splints, only much worse.”

The senior guard on the Keystone girls basketball team tried to battle through the injury — a torn medial patellofemoral ligament — but in the first half of the first game of the season, the troublesome knee painfully gave out again.

There was no way to ignore it any longer. Weaver needed surgery to repair the MPFL, which attaches the inside part of the patella to the femur.

Her basketball season was over.

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

“It had happened multiple times, including twice in my sleep when I just rolled over,” Weaver said. “I didn’t want to risk any more injuries or make anything worse than what it already was or could be. I knew I was going to play basketball in college, so I thought it was just best to get it fixed.”

Her knee first dislocated last spring during track and field season, but once it was popped back into place, Weaver thought she had dodged the worst of it.

She played through the injury during a very successful volleyball season that saw Keystone win its first District 9 Class 2A championship in 29 years.

Weaver, an outside hitter, was named to the Class 2A Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association all-state team.

This winter, Weaver was looking forward to big things on the basketball court with the Panthers, who won the D9 championship last season.

But the knee got progressively worse.

“My doctor told me, ‘When we put you out, we could see how worn out your tissue was,’” Weaver said. “‘If we pushed on (your kneecap), it would just go out.’” I was like, ‘Oh, wow. That’s great.’”

When her season was over before it really began, the affect rippled through the Keystone roster.

“It was awful,” said junior Natalie Bowser. “She’s one of my best friends and I was just so sad for her.”

The Panthers started poorly without Weaver, who averaged 9.1 points per game as a junior and was expected to take another big leap in her final year.

Keystone got out of the gate at 1-5 and endured another long losing streak in the middle of the season.

But now they have won four in a row following a 39-23 win over A-C Valley Friday night.

“We are a close-knit team and losing Jozee hurt a lot,” said first-year Keystone coach Andy Traister. “It was very tough. I didn’t even know if they wanted to play there for a little while, they hurt so bad.”

The team adapted.

So, too, has Weaver.

Just two weeks after her surgery, she is already walking. Doctors said it is a four- to six-month recovery from a MPFL reconstruction, but Weaver is hoping to be back for at least a part of track and field season this spring.

“I might be able to make it back, but it just kind of stinks because I’m not gonna be able to do the event I am good at, which is the 300 hurdles,” Weaver said. “It takes a lot of conditioning and I don’t want to rush anything.”

Weaver is still drawing interest from college basketball coaches and she is narrowing down her prospects. She said she is leaning toward attending Penn State Behrend.

Weaver, unfortunately, knows what it takes to rehab from a serious knee injury.

She watched two of her older sisters, Tessa Weaver and Samantha Ferguson, recover from torn ACLs.

“Sam tore her ACL three times in one knee and twice in the other knee,” Weaver said.

Is there some kind of curse in the family?

“I don’t know,” Weaver said, chuckling. “I think we just have a knee problem in general. I’ll be back and my knee should be good to go.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

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