January 5, 2012

Tigers Press On After Loss of Co-Captains to Season-Ending Injuries

Heading into the 2011-12 basketball season, a senior-laden Scotland County basketball program selected a pair of co-captains. Unfortunately injuries have sidelined both of the teams leaders for the remainder of their high-school careers.

Derrick Muntz and Brock Bondurant both underwent season ending surgery, a week apart, in the final days of 2011.

"We're definitely going to miss them come game time," said Coach Lance Campbell. "But we will miss their leadership even more. They were two of our hardest workers, and they set the tone for the rest of the guys at practice every day."

After missing most of the 2009-10 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee, and a big chunk of last year with a broken foot, Muntz looked poised for a big return to the court. He opened his senior season, topping the scorebook in his team's first two games. All his hard work in the off season paid off as Muntz had 14 points to lead SCR-I to a win over rival Clark County in the season opener.

For the second time in three years, Derrick Muntz saw his basketball season end with a serious knee injury.

He stepped up the scoring in his second game, pouring in 22 points in a win over Brashear in the opening round of the Novinger Tournament. But Muntz landed awkwardly when going up for a rebound late in the contest, injuring his left knee.

Initially he was diagnosed with a sprained knee, and thought he would only miss a week or two of action.

"I could still tell there was something wrong when I kept experiencing pain a week after the game," Muntz stated.

When the injury continued to hamper him, a return to the doctor revealed a torn ACL, MCL and torn meniscus, ending the senior's season and his high school basketball career.

"It was pretty devastating to get the results of the MRI," he said. "It was a real bummer."

The second serious injury ended a high school career that never really got started for Muntz. After being called up to the varsity team midway through his freshman season, Muntz was limited to just 16 games over the next three years.

"It is really unfortunate for the kid," said Campbell. "A lot of kids want to be good at a sport but fail to put in the work. That wasn't the case for Derrick. In my six years here I haven't had a kid that worked any harder on his own time trying to improve."

Muntz underwent successful surgery on December 22nd. He'll endure four months of physical therapy, with an expected six-month recovery period before he can return to full activity.

That put the full load of the team's leadership role on fellow senior Brock Bondurant's shoulders. While Bondurant had proven he was more than capable of carrying the leadership duties, he was unable to shoulder the load for long.

A lingering football injury ultimately led to season-ending surgery for Bondurant over the Christmas break.

"I hurt it in the Schuyler County game," Bondurant said. "I dove to make a tackle and landed on it wrong."

He was able to finish up the football season, despite the injury to his throwing shoulder. He didn't see much action in the regular season-finale versus North Shelby and then saw Mother Nature eliminate most of the throwing opportunities in the opening round of the state playoffs, a game played in extremely windy, and rainy conditions.

Brock Bondurant played his last game December 17th before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.

Doctors told the senior he could play through the pain during basketball season, without much risk of further damage, but baseball was likely out considering he would not be able to throw the ball.

He made it through nine games before scheduling the surgery during the school semester intermission.

Bondurant went out with a bang, scoring a season-high 15 points versus Van Buren County in the basketball team's final contest before the Christmas break.

"You have to admire his drive," said Campbell. "Not many 17-18 years olds know what they want to do after school, or have the ambition to set goals and chase after them no matter what."

Despite playing in his final game of the year on December 17th, Bondurant continued to practice with the team right up to his surgery date of December 29th.

Surgeons in Columbia repaired a torn labrum in Bondurant's right shoulder. The senior was willing to forgo the remainder of his high school basketball and baseball career's with an eye on attempting to walk on to the University of Missouri football program this fall when he enrolls in college.

"The doctors said it will be four to six months before I'm cleared to return to action," Bondurant said.

He is hoping to begin physical therapy in four weeks, while targeting the shorter duration for the doctors' recovery timeline.

"At the latest, I should be back at it in June," he said, giving himself enough time to try to secure a spot as a walk on for the Mizzou Tigers.

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