Secula’s absence forces smaller lineup

Maybe it was a bad break. Maybe it’s the knee history. Or maybe it’s just his style of play.

Whatever it is, Steve Secula has once again found himself undergoing knee surgery, ending his 2010-11 season for the Rowan men’s basketball team.

Secula drove the net hard on Jan. 22 against Jersey City, just like he does every game. But mid-air contact knocked him off balance and forced him to hit the ground hard. It was a pain unlike anything he ever felt before.

“Right when I hit the floor, I knew that I was hurt,” Secula said. “Based off of past experiences, I usually know when I’m injured or when it happens. I actually felt the dislocation and the noise was pretty frightening. This was the most painful one I have ever had.”

Secula chipped the bone in his knee cap and tore cartilage in his left knee. It was the sixth time he suffered a serious knee injury in his playing career and it will be the fifth surgery he’ll undergo.

“I’ve had two on tendinitis (in my left knee), one on my ACL (in my right knee), one on my meniscus (in my right knee) and then the one where I had dislocated my knee cap led to this but that didn’t require surgery,” Secula added.

Secula, who will be a senior next year, already has his mind set on the 2011-12 season. He feels that with a year of time together, chemistry won’t be as big an issue with the group of players they have now and that he can just focus on making himself better. “We haven’t performed up to the expectations I had for the team during the years that I have been here,” Secula said. “Individually I want to come back stronger and be more prepared for the season than I was this year.”

Another thing with knee injuries to athletes is that they tend to play more carefully. But not Secula. He said his game will not change over a fear of re-injury.

“Absolutely not. Knee injuries do not affect the way I play at all,” Secula said. “It does not get into my head. I will never hold back in fear of injury. Maybe that’s why I get hurt so much. I only know one way to play.”

The injury was untimely, not just for Secula but for the rest of the Profs. Secula was the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 5.5 per game. He also averaged nine points a game but was averaging almost 13 points the couple weeks prior to his injury.

“I think for a team stand point, his rebounding is going to be harder to replace than his scoring,” said head coach Joe Cassidy. “One of the things that was giving us some success was creating miss-matches and there were a number of games where Steve was being guarded by bigger, slower people and his ability to put the ball on the floor and go by people was one of the things we were kind of banking on.”

Cassidy had hoped that Rich McNamara would step into Secula’s spot but he sprained his ankle at the end of practice last Wednesday. Now Cassidy is hoping that Kendall White steps up into the role Secula left vacant with others filling in the spot White is leaving behind.

“Steve and Kendall have been splitting the five-position, and now Kendall will basically be playing all five when he’s in there,” Cassidy said. “So whatever minutes he played at the three-position will get spread to Laud (Anderson), Akeem (Johnson) or Roger (Loatman).”

The last thing Cassidy said he wanted to see the Profs do was play small. And with both Secula and McNamara out, the Profs will have to do just that.

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