Still not quite playing at the level she once was, junior middle blocker Anna Drewry is working to resume her presence on the court with the Purdue volleyball team while the possibility of redshirting hangs overhead.
Drewry suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during the Sweet Sixteen game against Louisville last December. Since then she has been trying to take it easy and make it back on the court this year.
Drewry said things are far better than before.
“I still have good days and bad days,” Drewry said. “The bad days aren’t as bad as they used to be, though.”
Head coach Dave Shondell said Drewry is making excellent progress and has definite potential for the season.
“She’s much further ahead than we thought she might be,” Shondell said.
Despite the advances in her recovery progress, there are still many issues Drewry must overcome.
“Some days I might be what some people may call ‘lackluster,’” Drewry said.
“I’m moving like gelatin. I go to close a block and I’m so much slower even though mentally I’m still putting the same amount of effort in and trying to push the start button, but nothing is happening.”
Shondell agrees even though Drewry appears healthy, her performance on the court is not quite back to normal yet.
Shondell said Drewry’s jump is not as strong as it once was, making it difficult for Drewry to get the height she needs when making contact with the ball. Drewry is also struggling to close the block, a former strength of hers.
Although Drewry still has a long way to go, Shondell said he thinks the worst is behind her.
“She really has overcome the fear that most ACL victims have, which is, ‘I don’t want to do this, I’m going to hurt my knee again.’”
Drewry said she will have to continue working to get her body to be physically able to do what she expects of herself.
“I still need to build some muscle in order to do the crazy stuff I want to do.”
Knowing that she is not the strong player the team needs her to be, redshirting is still a possibility this season, regardless of her progress.
“She wants to play this year, she doesn’t want to redshirt,” Shondell said. “(Drewry) wants to play, she wants to be on the floor, but then she owes it to the team to get to where she needs to be for this year.”
Shondell said he absolutely wants Drewry to get back on the court and wants her to be as competitive as she once was, but not at the expense of a season of recovery.
“It’s not a closed door yet. I never tell anyone to redshirt; it has to be a mutual decision,” Shondell said.
Drewry said she wants to play, but is open to the idea that this may not be her season.
“(Shondell) and I talk a lot, there was a long discussion of will I be redshirted and will I have a good year,” Drewry said. “I think the team will be just fine if I’m not ready.”
For now, Drewry will continue to work and play with the team while still discussing with Shondell if redshirting this season will be necessary.
Drewry and Shondell will have four games of conference play before the deadline to make a decision.