Raina Goodlow will be on the floor tonight when Michigan faces Northwestern on her teammates” shoes, that is.

Paul Wong
Michigan coach Sue Guevara praised Raina Goodlow for her excellent defense, but a staph infection has kept the 6-foot-2 forward on the sidelines since Dec. 1.<br><br>ALYSSA WOOD/Daily

Despite missing the last 20 games, Goodlow”s teammates and coaches haven”t forgotten about her, putting pieces of tape with her name and number on shoes, arm-bands, warm-ups or in coach Sue Guevara”s case a sports jacket. Goodlow admitted this show of support from her teammates made her teary-eyed.

For Goodlow, the last two-and-a-half months have been a roller coaster of emotions. Her nightmare began on Dec. 1 the day before the team was supposed to play defending champion Notre Dame. After laying down for a nap, her hips started to hurt her, and she was unable to move her legs without pain. She was taken to the hospital, but doctors could not figure out what was wrong.

“I wasn”t necessarily scared at first. But when I got in the hospital and they had to take these heart tests and MRI”s that”s when I started to get scared,” Goodlow said.

Initially, it was reported that she missed the Notre Dame game with back spasms, but the problem was much more severe. The doctors eventually discovered that Goodlow was suffering from a mysterious staph infection.

Said Goodlow: “No one knows where it came from.”

After all the tests, she remained in the hospital for another two weeks. During the stay, Goodlow was given antibiotics through an IV and needed a wheelchair to get around.

“A lot of people thought I was paralyzed,” she said. “But I could move my legs, it just hurt really bad when I was moving them.”

Goodlow eventually was able to walk around her room with a walker, and she was on crutches by the time she left the hospital. Since then, those crutches have been her mode of transportation to the team”s home games and practices.

Off her crutches for just a week and a half, she is now able to fully function except for playing basketball. Goodlow is not expected to return to the court until the summer, when she will begin training for next season as a fifth-year senior. Goodlow is currently doing “jump training,” but admits she hasn”t made much progress yet.

“My vertical is like two inches, but it is a start,” Goodlow said.

She and Guevara agree that Goodlow”s presence would have brought two things the team has lacked this season: Defense and leadership. Guevara said she wished she could have used her 6-foot-2 forward this past Sunday to guard Purdue”s Shereka Wright, who scored 40 points against the Wolverines, because of Goodlow”s athleticism and long arms and legs. Guevara also said Goodlow did a nice job of leading by example before her infection.

Everyone on the team is asking “What if?”

Michigan will find out next year.

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