The fates must have been frowning on junior Joanne Musgrove the day she hurt her wrist. She was only doing what she was supposed to. In fact, she was doing more than she had to, going to the Varsity Tennis Center in June just to hit balls and practice more.
“Often she is the last one in practice and hits even on her days off,” women”s tennis coach Bitsy Ritt said of Musgrove”s work ethic. “She always finds a way to get some hitting in.”
It is Musgrove”s restless work ethic that made this injury so difficult. Her desire to be on the court in both practice and matches was stymied by the knowledge that the only way to get better was to let her wrist rest and heal.
Musgrove was working on conditioning drills when it happened. She sprinted up the court, tripped over herself and used her hands to break her fall. Landing on her wrist, she felt immediate pain. She was done practicing for the day and the next six weeks.
The pain in Musgrove”s wrist weakened it so much, she couldn”t even “lift things or open doors.
“I had X-rays taken and they showed it wasn”t broken,” Musgrove said. “I thought it was just cartilage, so I just decided to let it rest and heal. I began hitting balls again before school started and it still hurt but I was able to ignore the pain.”
It wasn”t until she played at one of the fall tournaments in Ann Arbor that the pain became so unbearable that she couldn”t play. She withdrew one round from the tournament finals after amassing a 3-0 record.
She had a CAT-Scan soon afterward and found that the bone had fractured and completely separated. It would require surgery to remove the broken bone, forcing her to miss more tennis.
“It was hard,” Musgrove said. “I wanted to be out there real bad, there was a lot of stress wondering when I was going to get to play and worrying what if I had to miss the whole dual season. It was especially hard to watch everyone play and not be able to be a part of that.”
Musgrove did not walk away from the team during this injury. She could still work on conditioning drills and her footwork and she supported the team in this way. The injury also didn”t stop her from cheering on her teammates and lending them support.
Because of this ability to perform conditioning drills with the team, Musgrove did not have to deal with the usual post-injury dilemma of getting back into shape. She did have to bring her game back to the level that she was accustomed to playing at.
At Yale this past weekend, Musgrove played her first lengthy match since the surgery in November. After losing the first set 2-6 to Liz Oosterhuis she came back to win the next two decidedly, despite playing with the lingering ache in her healing wrist.
“Maybe it wasn”t her best tennis but she competed well and found a way to win,” Ritt said.