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ND Women’s Basketball: Peters undeterred by injuries

Laura Myers | Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Two years is a long time for a scholarship athlete to go without running.

Junior forward Devereaux Peters faced that very problem when she took the floor on Dec. 29 against Central Florida. It was Peters’ first time in a game in more than a year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee two straight times.

“I was kind of nervous, just because it’d been like two years since I’d really run,” Peters said. “I would joke around with the team, they were telling me I only had 10 minutes so I told them ‘If I get tired I’m fouling, I only have five fouls in 10 minutes!’

“I thought I would be ridiculously exhausted.”

Peters, who still walks with a bit of a limp, has already made an impact on both sides of the ball for Notre Dame. In just her second game back, a 74-69 win over Vanderbilt on Dec. 30, she recorded eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 14 minutes of play.

After that game, Irish coach Muffet McGraw said she thought Peters was the player of the game and joked that they would “expect her to do that every game.”

And while Peters has continued to play at a high standard — she averages 5.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and more than one block and steal per game, and put up a team-high 12 points in Notre Dame’s loss to Connecticut — she said she feels no demands from her coach or her teammates.

“Obviously I want to [improve], but there’s not any added pressure,” Peters said. “You can see how well the team does out there without me. I obviously want to do really well every game, but if I don’t it’s not like the team’s on my shoulders. They’re perfectly fine on their own.”

Nor does Peters feel she is close to being fully recovered. In 23 games before her first knee injury as a freshman, she averaged nine points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.96 blocks, good enough to be named to the Big East All-Freshman team.  However, her injuries have stopped her from adding to that potential.

“Obviously you’re not going to come back all the way, 100 percent from where you were,” Peters said. “I’m trying to take it slow, trying to be easy on myself a little bit. It’s kind of difficult. I don’t see myself getting back fully until probably next season, so I’m just trying to give it everything I have and see where that takes me.”

Peters tore her ACL the first time on Feb. 10, 2008, in the second half of a game against then-No. 15 Pittsburgh. After corrective surgery in April 2008, she was able to play at the beginning of the 2008-09 season, even earning a start against Evansville on Nov. 19, 2008.

In the third game of the season, against Boston College on Nov. 23, Peters played just four minutes before re-injuring her knee. She played 12 more minutes in the game with just a little discomfort, but later found out she had re-torn the ACL.

“The first one was pretty tough,” Peters said. “By the time I did the second one it was really frustrating, but then halfway through that it’s just old news. You kind of get used to it. It wasn’t as frustrating I guess the second time because it’s kind of like been there, done that. I was used to it.

“A lot of my friends were mad at me because I didn’t even tell them I had to have another surgery because it was just second nature for me then. It was just like ‘Oh, yeah, I’m having surgery in the morning, whatever.'”

This time Peters had to have a two-part corrective surgery, one in February 2009 and another in May.

“You don’t even have your knee strong enough, and on top of that I had to have a bone graft done, which took three more months to heal,” she said “So I had added time on top of the fact that I had to have ACL surgery, so it was recovering, and building up your muscle just to lose it again.”

Peters said she has not resorted to good luck charms as she continues her recovery, but rather has worked hard and will continue to do so in order to strengthen her knee and get back to full form.

“It was a lot of work,” she said. “You really have to be mentally tough to get through something like that. I really respect people who have torn their ACL because it’s tough.”