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Gateway grad returns to court after second ACL injury

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 8:52 p.m.
The Times Express
Amanda Estok, at left, battles for a loose ball during a game against Plum on Jan. 13, 2012. Less than a month later, the 2012 Gateway graduate suffered her second ACL injury in eight months. Despite that, she battled back and played for Pitt-Greensburg in the Bobcats' season-opening tournament Nov. 16 and 17, 2012. Aaron Loughner | For The Times Express

Amanda Estok suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee while playing a summer basketball game in June 2011.

The 2012 Gateway graduate and multiyear starter on the Gators varsity girls basketball team came back eight months later and suited up for the second half of her senior season.

However, she again torn the ACL in her right knee during a game against Fox Chapel in early February. Surgery followed, and the rehab process started all over again.

Two injuries like that to the same knee might knock some athletes out of the game they love, but Estok remained determined to continue playing basketball.

With months of rehab and patience behind her, Estok took to the court Friday and Saturday for the Pitt-Greensburg women's squad in their season-opening tournament in Ohio.

“It was really nice being back on the floor after nine months,” Estok said.

“It was great to be out there with my team and getting good minutes.”

Estok, who said her knee was a little sore after the games on back-to-back nights, scored four points and recorded a block and a steal in 12 minutes off the bench in the Bobcats' 66-55 loss to Hiram College.

Estok tallied two points, one rebound and one steal over 13 minutes in a 76-71 setback against Aurora University, a Division III school from Illinois.

Estok said she went into the games without worrying about the knee or getting hurt again.

“Me being confident in myself helped me get back,” Estok said. “You just have to get out there and go for it.”

Estok was cleared to go full speed with contact in practice and games after a Nov. 6 visit to her doctor.

Pitt-Greensburg began preseason practice on Oct. 14, and before being cleared, she was able to go through conditioning drills in practice and walk through plays.

But 5-on-5 play with contact was out of the question.

Estok said she was grateful for a solid Pitt-Greensburg support system through the summer and fall as she worked to get back.

“My teammates are such a great group of girls,” Estok said.

“They are like my second family away from home. They've been so supportive of me and were so excited the day I got cleared. It's such a great feeling to know they are excited to have me back. My coaches have also been right with me through the rehab and recovery.

“The trainers did whatever was possible to get me back on the court as quickly as possible,” Estok said.

Estok said she's confident the Bobcats will have a strong season. The team was scheduled to play at Chatham on Tuesday, and the game was to be played past the deadline for this week's edition.

Pitt-Greensburg is slated to open Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference action Nov. 28 at home against Mt. Aloysius.

“I think we will be fine,” Estok said. “We have a lot of talent on this team. We've worked really hard in practice. We learned a lot from those (opening) games.”

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412- 388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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