Nicole Ryan, who led Clearwater to the Class 5A state final two months ago, wanted to play in elite basketball tournaments this summer to increase her chances of landing a scholarship with a big-time program.
But those plans were altered after the junior point guard tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee April 29.
The injury happened while Ryan was going for a layup during a practice with her AAU team.
"I could feel it on the way up," said Ryan, the Times All-County and All-Suncoast Player of the Year. "I came down, crashed into a teammate and twisted it."
Ryan was taken to the emergency room at Mease Countryside. Initially, doctors thought she had a partial tear or sprain.
It was only after Ryan saw Dr. Koco Eaton that she found out it was completely torn.
Ryan will have surgery May 14 and start rehab soon after. She expects to be out for six months.
"I have to look at the positive and know I'll still have my senior season," Ryan said.
But the injury prevents her from getting noticed by college teams.
"I had a lot of assistant coaches from colleges who have watched me play," Ryan said. "This summer I would have played in front of a lot of head coaches. I hoped to sign early, but I'll have to wait."