Jacki Gemelos Suffers Another ACL Tear
Dec. 20, 2011
USC senior guard Jacki Gemelos is lined up for the fifth ACL reconstruction surgery of her career following an injury to her left knee sustained on Dec. 18, 2011 in a game at Texas A&M. After multiple knee injuries kept the nation's top recruit from taking the floor as a Trojan for three and a half seasons, Gemelos was a full-time force for USC since returning to the game on Feb. 4, 2010. Now in her second year of grad school, Gemelos was named to the Naismith Award Early Season Watch List and was averaging 11.0 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game before this latest injury. She plans to have surgery to repair her left knee in early January. And she plans to come back to basketball once again.
"It's a terrible injury for her to go through again - for any player for that matter, but especially for her," USC head coach Michael Cooper said of Gemelos. "After the hills she's climbed and that she's gotten the chance to look out over the top, and then for this to happen again is very damaging. But she is a young, strong girl. She'll bounce back from this."
Gemelos has becoming a pro at bouncing back. Her first injury came to her right knee during her senior season at St. Mary's High School in Stockton, Calif. A McDonald's All-American, she was still considered the top recruit, and she joined the Women of Troy as a freshman in 2006 under then-head coach Mark Trakh. After redshirting that first season, she was set to come back and play in 2007-08, but again tore her right knee. She then spent another season on the sidelines, prepping to hit the court for the 2008-09 season -- her academic junior year -- but was knocked back for what seemed to be an unimaginable third season when her left knee was injured. Toward the tail end of her journey back to the court for her senior year in 2009-10, Gemelos and the athletic training staff discovered that her body had in fact rejected the graft used to repair her left knee, prompting another reconstruction, albeit with a shorter rehab process.
Finally, on Feb. 4, 2010, a senior Gemelos took the court for the first time as a Trojan. She did not disappoint, and she's been inspiring and impressing her Trojan teammates and fans ever since. She played the entire 2010-11 season in her first year as a grad student, starting and starring on the court as she helped USC to the most wins tallied by the Trojans since 1994 on the way to a trip to the 2011 WNIT final. She garnered 2011 All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention, and would later suit up for Team USA during the summer and won gold as a member of the 2011 World University Games team.
"I've never seen anything like this," Cooper said. "I've seen people have the same injury twice within a week or so, but never for one player to have the same injury over and over and over again. She knows what it's all about. The good thing about it is that she's been very, very healthy the last year and a half. She's been eating right, doing the right things and weight lifting, so this will be like a new injury to her and i think it will be something that she'll overcome very quickly. She's a warrior. She'll come back."
In her USC playing career to date, Gemelos appeared in 57 games, scoring 640 points (11.2 ppg) with 278 rebounds (4.9 rpg), 141 assists (2.5 apg), 72 steals (1.3 spg) and 37 blocks. She shot .399 from the floor and .384 from 3-point range, while standing as USC's No. 1 career free-throw shooter with an .833 effort from the line.