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One moment Casey Shalla was preparing to play in a game against WACO and the next he found himself sitting on the sideline after he heard a pop in his knee.
Lone Tree coach Aaron Bohr said losing Shalla was a big deal for the team at the time, citing his leadership on the offensive. line.
“It was a big deal. To a lot of casual football fans I think they don’t really understand how important it is to have cohesion and have good, smart people on the offensive line,” Bohr said.
He said at that point he wasn’t sure how bad it was because he could jog over to the sideline.
“I could jog over there so I wasn’t sure, it didn’t feel too terrible at that point,” Shalla said.
It would take awhile to nail down what really happened, but eventually Shalla found out that he had a bucket tear of the meniscus. Shalla took two weeks off of football and said he played in their last game of the 2016 season, a 70-62 victory over Midland.
From there Shalla said they moved to schedule his surgery as quickly as possible and it took place just a few days after their last football game. He spent the off-season babying his knee and unable to do many of the compound power lifts that are a big part of football off-season training. That didn’t stop him from preparing for his season as a shotput and discus thrower.
“What I could do was work on track and I was a thrower so I really worked on my upper body for throwing stuff,” Shalla said.
Once track season started Shalla said he really started feeling like he was full strength again and with that came the struggle of getting over injury. He said just getting back into the swing of lifting really helped him get over it quickly.
“(I check my knee) all the time. This summer I’d go water skiing and you could always see I was babying my knee,” Shalla said.
This football season Shalla has been back at full strength and Bohr said having his game knowledge and leadership has been one of the many keys to Lone Tree’s 3-0 start this year.
“It’s just one of those things where that’s a position you don’t want to have to replace because Casey (Shalla) knows so much about the game, he’s the one making line calls and getting everyone in position,” Bohr said.
He said once a guy comes back from a knee injury requiring surgery you’re never quite sure how they’ll respond, but Bohr said for Shalla he’s come back at full strength and improved over the off-season.
“It’s nice to see because some guys once they get hurt they’re never quite the same, physically or a lot of times mentally, but Casey does a pretty good job of blocking it out and doing what he needs to do,” Bohr said.
Shalla will be a key for Lone Tree as they attempt to avenge last season’s 8-1 finish without a playoff appearance. Shalla plays center on offense and has 15 total tackles including one tackle for loss on defense.