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Pirate's status still unknown

Pasco's LaShawn Vaughns has no bone damage in her knee, but an MRI exam is expected soon, if not today.

By JAMAL THALJI, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 15, 2003


DADE CITY -- Spring break could not have come at a better time for Pasco track standout LaShawn Vaughns, who is out for at least a week, perhaps longer, after sustaining a serious knee injury at Thursday's Sunshine Athletic Conference meet.

Doctors still are not sure of the severity of her injury. An X-ray of Vaughns' injured left knee taken Thursday at Pasco Regional Medical Center revealed no bone damage, but that exam could not determine ligament damage.

Vaughns could undergo a more comprehensive MRI as soon as today. Until then, doctors have diagnosed Vaughns with a bad sprain, and she still cannot apply pressure on the foot.

"She's not on her feet yet," coach Raven Lewis said. "She's just staying off of it, icing it. They told her it was a bad sprain, but you can't tell anything from an X-ray. That's why we need to get an MRI to look at the muscle and ligament around (the knee)."

Vaughns said Monday she is feeling better and the swelling has subsided.

"It's gone down a lot, and it's feeling a lot better. But I still can't walk on it," she said. "It's just been four days, and it's done a lot for me in those four days. Hopefully, I'll be able to go back in a week.

"If not, I'll just recover and stay strong and have a big year next year."

Vaughns, who regularly competes in five sports, injured herself in her first event at Land O'Lakes' Gator Stadium on Thursday, the long jump. During one of her attempts, Vaughns planted her right leg for the takeoff, but her left leg dragged behind and caught on the board.

"It twisted behind me, and it kind of popped out of place. And I fell into the pit on the leg that popped out," she said.

Vaughns flipped forward and landed in agony inside the sand pit. She was carried out of the pit and taken to a hospital.

That leap, 15 feet, 73/4 inches, was good enough for fourth, but Vaughns was done for the day. Without Vaughns, Pasco finished seventh with 35 points.

The SAC meet always has posed problems for the junior. Last year, when the meet was split into two days because of rain, she couldn't make the second day and finished with one title, in the 100 meters.

If Vaughns is to return to the state meet for a third season, however, she must be ready to compete by April 24 for the Class 2A, District 9 meet at Wesley Chapel.

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