Deer Lodge's Michele Christnacht: Playing Through The Pain
By ABC FOX MT Sports Staff
It all started on December 18th for Michele Christnacht. After playing the night before, The Powell County Lady Wardens were going through a light practice, when things took a turn for the worse.
"We went to do this lay-up drill and I collided with a teammate and I heard a big old pop. At first I just thought a cramp in my knee, but then immediately afterwards, when I couldn't walk I just had a bad feeling about it." says Lady Wardens senior guard Michele Christnacht.
Michele went to the doctor and had to wait patiently, at times even biting her nails, before hearing the news. Tests came back saying she had an ACL and MCL tear in her knee.
"It was pretty heartbreaking. The first thing that went through my head was,"How am I going to play like this?" and checking out what my options were." says Christnacht.
Michele's options were either get surgery and be out six to eight months, or immediately begin rehab and try to make an improbable comeback. She went with option two, and after seven weeks of physical therapy she is back on the court.
"There was no days off. It was constant work. It was a lot of hard work, more than I've ever had to go through." says Christnacht.
"The doctors just saw how hard she works. They saw her determination that very first day. They know this was a girl that could get it done, and she has done that." says Powell County head coach Kirk Walker.
Michele has played in the last four games for the Lady Wardens, wearing a brace. Now she's helping her team to a hopeful state championship run.
"It's just so nice having her brain out there. What she lacks in her legs right now, she has the mindset and knows the game. So it's great out there."says senior forward Dani Walker.
"I just wanted to play my senior year. I want to be apart of this team. I feel like we have something really special going on this year, and I wanted to be apart of it." adds Christnacht.
There's a chance Michelle can injure her knee even more, but she's willing to risk it. She says following the season she plans to get surgery.