April 8, 2013

Clement sidelined by stress fracture

Allie Clement, McAuley's standout guard, learns the extent of an injury that hindered her this season.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Allie Clement, the outstanding junior point guard for three-time Class A state champion McAuley High, would love to be playing basketball the next couple weekends with her AAU teammates, the Firecrackers.

click image to enlarge

Allie Clement

Press Herald file photo

Unfortunately, she can't.

Clement, who played the entire high school season with a painful right foot, has been diagnosed with a stress fracture.

"It's good," she said. "Right now I'm just trying to hang in there.

"It's hard. I'm so active and I've never had to say no to the things I would normally do."

The 5-foot-8 Clement, who averaged 17 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 2.6 assists this past season, will miss a prestigious AAU tournament April 19-21 in Richmond, Va. It is the one time this spring when Division I coaches can view prospective recruits.

According to her father, Brian, Clement already has eight Division I scholarship offers, with at least a dozen other schools showing interest.

"It would have been nice for her to have been able to play in Virginia," said Brian Clement. "There were some schools that wanted to see her play. But whether she would want to go to that school, whether they would offer her a scholarship, who knows?

"We just need to do the right thing for her long-term career. In the short term, it would be great for her to be able to play in these events. A lot of it is that she just loves to play, it's what she's passionate about. Basketball is a central part of her life, and we're taking it away. We want to see her play, but we want her to be healthy."

Clement, 16, noticed pain in her right foot early in the season. When it progressively got worse, she went to see Dr. Lucien Ouellette at Orthopaedic Associates in Saco. She made it clear she wanted to finish the high school season, and ended up playing all 22 games.

But she had to wear a plastic boot whenever she wasn't playing, and she was very limited in practice. She did little running. Coach Bill Goodman reduced her minutes to ease the pain.

After the season ended, she had an MRI that showed her foot was inflamed because of excessive fluid in the joints. She was told to rest and continue wearing the boot.

When the pain didn't alleviate, she went to Dr. William Mitchell in Boston for a second opinion. He diagnosed the stress fracture.

"I was really frustrated," said Allie Clement. "I called my dad and told him (Dr. Mitchell) was wrong."

She has also undergone a biomechanical analysis of her gait which, Ouellette said, revealed some movement that added stress to the foot.

All in all, he said, she simply needed to stop playing for a while.

"We want her to be 100 percent pain free," he said. "I realize no athlete wants to be shut down, especially someone at this level. But the treatment is to rest it."

Ouellette said the concern is that if Clement continued to play in pain, the stress fracture could lead to a complete break. Clement plays an aggressive style that puts a lot of stress on her foot, with her cutting and jumping.

He doesn't think she hurt it more by playing the high school season.

"Did it make it worse?" he asked. "It doesn't seem so. She seems to be in the same level of pain now as she was then."

He doesn't know when she can return. Mitchell recommended four months of rest. Ouellette doesn't think it will be that long but added, "we want her 100 percent painfree. We can only guess when that will be. She's already been resting it a bit, so hopefully it won't be that much longer."

Clement's plastic boot has been replaced with an air cast, which she said is more comfortable. Ouellette also said it allows a little flexibility to her ankle, preventing that joint from stiffening up.

While she is not able to play any basketball, Clement is keeping in shape by trying new things: yoga, swimming and the P90X workout. "I'm just doing as much as I can," she said.

She has spoken to coaches from the schools that have offered scholarships -- Marist, Holy Cross, Miami of Ohio, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Hartford, Maine and Binghamton, according to her father -- and all understand why she isn't playing.

It doesn't make it easy, though.

"It's not like I'm waiting for another coach to see me," she said. "But I thought we had fixed it. I thought I'd be able to play AAU ball.

"It's probably good for my body to rest, I guess."

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

 

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