Comeback kids: UFV’s Moedt, Grewal anticipate return from knee injuries

The 2010-11 basketball season is one that Jasper Moedt would probably like to forget, but he can recount his rehabilitation timeline from a torn knee ligament in astonishing detail.

On March 13, 2010, during an open scrimmage at the University of the Fraser Valley, Moedt tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee in a seemingly innocent collision with Cascades teammate Zeon Gray.

UFV Cascades centre Jasper Moedt (33)

UFV Cascades centre Jasper Moedt (33)

The 2010-11 basketball season is one that Jasper Moedt would probably like to forget, but he can recount his rehabilitation timeline from a torn knee ligament in astonishing detail.

On March 13, 2010, during an open scrimmage at the University of the Fraser Valley, Moedt tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee in a seemingly innocent collision with Cascades teammate Zeon Gray.

On June 3, Moedt underwent surgery to repair the damage. On Dec. 3, he was cleared to return to full-contact practice – though as a medical redshirt, he was ineligible to play in games for the rest of the season.

The next red-letter date on Moedt’s calendar is Monday, Aug. 22. That’s when the UFV men’s basketball team opens a three-game preseason series against NCAA opponents, taking on the University of Texas at Arlington. It also represents the finish line in Moedt’s comeback drive.

“You have to get through it somehow, and having those dates to look ahead to is pretty important,” explained Moedt, the Cascades’ 6’7” starting centre.

“It’s like, ‘How many days until I can run?’ And then when that’s crossed off, it’s ‘How many days until I can jump?’ Or, ‘How many days until someone can hit me?’”

If Moedt sounds a little bit like a prisoner marking the days on the jailhouse wall, it’s because the past 16 months have been a tedious process – from hours of calf raises, to the frustration of having to watch UFV games from the sideline.

“Even in the second semester when I was practicing with the team, you do all the hard work, but the real reward is playing in the games with the guys and that camaraderie that goes with it,” said Moedt, who is entering his third year of eligibility. “You kind of miss out on that. You can cheer on the bench as hard as you want, but you can’t affect the outcome of the game.”

Kyle Grewal can relate to what Moedt went through in a very direct way. Grewal, the Cascades’ starting power forward, suffered a torn ACL of his own last August. Like Moedt, he redshirted the 2010-11 campaign.

Because his injury occurred five months after Moedt’s, Grewal isn’t as far along in his comeback. He’s returning to practice in September, and there’s a chance he could see a few minutes of game action on Sept. 9, when the Cascades wrap up their NCAA series against the University of Santa Clara.

Pondering his return, Grewal channels Joni Mitchell.

“It’s like the saying – you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” he said. “It means a lot (to return), because sitting out, you realize how much you miss it.”

Likewise, the Cascades missed Moedt and Grewal in a big way last season. Without their starting frontcourt, the undersized UFV squad scrapped and clawed its way into the playoffs with a 10-14 record, then pushed eventual national silver medallist Trinity Western to the limit in their best-of-three first round playoff series.

The return of Moedt and Grewal, plus the addition of newcomers Josh Monagle (6’6”), Mike James (6’6”) and Luke Braund (6’5”), gives the Cascades great depth in the post this season, and reason for optimism.

In the end, Moedt believes the redshirt season will serve him well. Hundreds of extra hours spent in the weight room could boost his career outlook from good to great, and the buzz coming out of UFV’s open gym runs is that Moedt has been dominant at times.

“It’s been really good for me,” he said. “I’m coming back a year older, a year stronger, and definitely more confident in my game.”

The Cascades’ NCAA series includes games against Division 1 foes Texas-Arlington (Aug. 22) and Santa Clara (Sept. 9) bookending a date with Div. 3 program Whitman College (Aug. 26). All three games tip off at 7 p.m. at the Envision Athletic Centre.

Taking on teams from the high-profile NCAA is always a thrill for the players, Moedt noted.

“We know they’re going to be athletic and big,” he said. “It’s exciting to see what we’re up against, and know these are probably going to be the most competitive teams we play all year. It’s a good measuring post, for sure.”