Bouncing all the way back to the court
by Staff Writer
by Cliff Mehrtens
Phillip Anglade has made huge strides in a year, literally and figuratively.
Anglade, a senior forward on Davidson Day’s basketball team, has made a dramatic return from a devastating knee injury that wiped out most of his junior season.
That was followed by surgery, grueling rehabilitation, and the natural bouts of doubt and concern. Today, watch Anglade play and it’s hard to tell how far he’s come in 13 months.
He moves fluidly and is an exceptional jumper. He looks, well, fully recovered.
Anglade is averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds for Davidson Day, which has a 21-3 record and is among the contenders for the state 1A private-school title.
In December 2010, during a game against Queens Grant, Anglade left his feet to shoot a layup, an innocuous play that happens dozens of time in a basketball game.
“I landed and my knee just went the other way,” Anglade said. “I heard a ‘pop’ sound and I was on the ground. I was just praying it wasn’t bad.”
Anglade had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, the main stabilizing ligament.
Anglade initially thought it might not have happened. He said he jumped lightly a couple of times, and returned to the game. But, he couldn’t run and knew it was bad.
Surgery followed, by orthopedist Dr. Glen Perry, the Charlotte Bobcats’ team physician. A graft of Anglade’s patellar tendon from his left knee was used to repair the damaged ACL in his right knee.
“When doctors told me I couldn’t do anything for six months, I was just devastated,” Anglade said. “I didn’t know how to take it at the time.”
He began range-of-motion exercises in the hospital the day of surgery, customary for that type of recovery.
“Phillip is a kid who loves to play,” Davidson Day coach Ron Johnson said. “He’s quiet, but he plays with a passion. His injury was really difficult for the team. I thought he was our best player at the time. It made a huge difference when he got hurt.”
Anglade said family, friends and Johnson all played a role in the mental aspect of his healing. Johnson visited Anglade at home several times, and tried to put a forward spin on any discussions about the injury.
“I talked to him about taking his time, following doctor’s orders and staying on course,” Johnson said. “I tried to keep him looking forward. We looked ahead to July. He was patient.”
That was the target for Anglade’s return to full-speed basketball.
Last spring, when Davidson Day would practice, he’d do light shooting on the side. When the Patriots had the first open gym practice allowed, Anglade participated.
“He looked good,” Johnson said. “He even dunked a couple of times, which surprised me.”
Anglade wasn’t 100 percent, but he was making strides as the school year began. By October, Anglade said he felt almost fully recovered.
“I feel pretty normal now,” he said. “It feels like my leg is normal.”
Anglade has had 10 or more rebounds in 22 of 24 games this season, and has been a consistent scorer. He had a 22-rebound game against Gaston Day, and a 20-point game against Cape Fear.
In December, he was named Most Outstanding Player at the Augusta Christian Holiday Tournament. Anglade had 22 points and 12 rebounds in title game, as Davidson Day beat Christian Academy (Tennessee), 55-40.
“He’s an undersized post guy (at 6 foot 4), but he’s very consistent,” Johnson said. “We can count on Phillip offensively and we can count on good defense from him, too. He’s good at playing his role.”
Also gone are concerns about college recruiters bypassing Anglade. A player’s junior season is when they often receive loads of attention from colleges. Anglade missed most of his junior year. Ditto with the summer season, when the knee injury prevented college coaches from seeing him during AAU competition.
But Anglade’s strong play this season has rekindled their interest. The colleges chasing strongest have been Vermont, Charleston Southern, UNC Asheville, Palm Beach Atlantic, Queens and Berry University.
“I’m so happy that we’re winning games,” Anglade said. “As a team, I feel like we’ve grown. We have a very close connection on this team. We have seven seniors and a couple of younger guys, and I know our connection is good. It shows on the court. We just have to continue playing as a team.”
Anglade will continue being a key component, doing the dirty work under the basket. He’s not the yelling type, Johnson said, but when he speaks, it makes a difference.
“Phillip is quiet, but he’s definitely not shy,” Johnson said. “When he says something to the team, even if it’s simple like ‘let’s go,’” they know he means it because he’s not talking all the time. He’s definitely been a leader for us.”