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Back in action: Vidal returns after season-ending knee injury

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, January 9, 2019
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With under two minutes remaining in last year’s regular season finale against Krum, Emily Vidal rushed to catch a pass with Bridgeport down by one.

FLOOR GENERAL – Bridgeport junior Emily Vidal brings the ball up the court during a game against Argyle. Vidal suffered a torn ACL last year and is averaging 15 points per game this season. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

As the then-sophomore hauled it in, her hips went one way and her left leg went another. Vidal crumpled to the court in agony.

“I caught [the ball] as I was turning,” Vidal recalled. “My knee went in and out and I heard this big pop. I knew immediately.”

At first, trainers thought Vidal may have just suffered a hamstring injury, but Vidal’s worst fear was soon confirmed – she had torn her ACL.

“I hugged her real tight and said ‘You’re not done. It’s not finished. It’s not through. Be a great teammate and we’ll get you taken care of and back on the floor,'” said Bridgeport coach Dallas Taylor. “That’s all you can do. You can’t sugarcoat it for them because it happened and it’s reality.”

The Sissies wound up losing to the Lady Bobcats, setting up a one-game tiebreaker with Krum for the third and fourth seeds out of District 9-4A.

Vidal could only watch as the Lady Bobcats beat the Sissies again to take third in 9-4A. Without its leading scorer, Vidal, who had averaged 17 points, Bridgeport fell 33-29 to finish fourth in 9-4A.

The Sissies’ season ended a few days later against 10-4A champion Dallas Lincoln in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

“It was tough [not playing] because I like this sport so much,” Vidal said. “I tried to cheer my teammates on. Deep down, I knew they wanted to fight as hard as they could, for me and CheyAnne [Weirich] both. We were both starters. To watch her go down was hard enough. To watch me go down – I just told them to keep digging down.”

Vidal was one of three players to miss an extended amount of time due to an injury last year. Weirich also tore her ACL and 6-3 post Delaney Ingram was sidelined for nearly two months with a broken right wrist.

Even without three starters for various intervals, Bridgeport still finished the season 21-9.

“We’re very humble over here in Bridgeport,” Taylor said. “We understand how fast a season can be changed. Not just through [Vidal], but through multiple [players]. We didn’t start the same lineup twice in district last year.”

Vidal had surgery to repair her knee last March. Doctors took a graft for her patellar tendon and only guaranteed she would be back for the start of district play, which was last Friday.

Vidal was cleared Oct. 1 – two months ahead of schedule – and has not missed a game this season.

“I started rehab right away,” Vidal said. “Fit-N-Wise worked me three to four times per week. It was a lot of work. My teammates were with me every step of the way. That’s what really got me through rehab and everything.”

Through 24 games, Bridgeport is 17-7 with Vidal averaging 15 points. The Sissies were ranked as high as No. 6 in Class 4A in late November with their floor general back in action.

“To see a kid go through it like that, you don’t ever want to see that,” Taylor said. “You’re sitting in a hospital room and she’s back in surgery, you don’t want to see it happen. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s the name of the game and the nature of the beast. You can’t be prouder of [Vidal] for the work ethic to get back to where she wants to be.”

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