Tina Charles and Renee Montgomery knew since late July that UConn junior Caroline Doty had injured her knee.
But neither they nor Doty knew how severe the injury was until doctors confirmed the guard had torn the ACL in her left knee, the third ACL injury of her young career. UConn said Thursday she will miss the entire 2010-11 season.
On Friday, Charles and Montgomery's hearts went out to Doty, who is expected to attend tonight's Connecticut Sun-Seattle Storm game here at Mohegan Sun Arena. Neither of the Sun players had spoken to Doty in depth since UConn confirmed her injury Thursday, though she sent out a mass text to the "UConn family," Charles said, to let everyone know about the situation.
"I feel sorry for her just because of the process to get back," Montgomery said. "You see how hard someone works to get back in the beginning and everything they go through just to get back to where they were. And now having to do everything all over ... it’s just a sad situation."
Montgomery said Doty suffered the injury "just working out," and that she had suffered a 75 percent tear of the ligament. Charles said that Doty didn't initially think she had torn it because "it didn’t feel like it felt the same way it had the second time."
Doty first suffered an ACL tear while playing varsity soccer as a senior in high school. She then tore the ligament in the opposite knee 17 games into her freshman season on Jan. 17, 2009.
"That’s the thing, too, usually when somebody’s torn it once, they know what the feeling is," Montgomery said. "She did tear it 75 percent so it’s not all the way. But that’s just rough, especially because if you didn’t think it was (torn) and then you go to the doctor and they’re like, ‘Yeah, it is,’ it’s like, ‘Oh my goodness.’"
Both Charles and Montgomery, however, feel Doty has the kind of mindset to make a full recovery -- again.
"If she has the same mindset that she had the year before last, then I think she’ll be fine," Charles said. "(Her focus back then was) just get back on the court. Right at that time, she was just peaking from that, you know, freshman mindset that you don’t want to step on anybody’s toes. I think around that time that she tore it against Syracuse, it was kind of hard for her.
"She’ll be fine. She has that kind of mindset that you need just to be at UConn anyway. She has that kind of mentality, that determination to get back on the court for her teammates."
Charles added that she thinks Doty will be a "great vocal leader" for UConn this season, just as she was after her second injury.
"It’s easy to be selfish when something like that happens," Montgomery said. "You feel sorry for yourself and pout around all the time and bring everyone else down around you. But she was our No. 1 fan, cheering during the games. I think she really took a selfless approach.