Imagine you are a junior in high school, the most talented player on your basketball team. But you missed playing time. Not because you transferred or broke a rule, but, in effect, because your muscles didn’t receive enough oxygen.
Beatrice’s Michaela Jones is one of the roughly 20,000 people diagnosed in the United States each year with chronic compartment syndrome, a painful condition that occurs when pressure within the muscles builds to dangerous levels. Symptoms include numbness, difficulty moving your feet or visible muscle bulging.
“At first it felt like just a normal muscle cramp,” Jones said. “Then it would get worse to where it felt like I couldn’t move my legs.”
Jones had surgery to relieve the pressure in all five of the “compartments” in her legs on March 21. The procedure helped restore proper blood flow to the muscles in her legs. She hopes to be back on the court in June.
“I am ahead of schedule right now,” she said. “I hope to be back to full strength by July.”
Even through the soreness, the 5-foot-9 Jones played in all 23 games in the 2016-17 season. She broke the single-season (265) and single-game (21) rebounding records. She averaged 18.8 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.9 steals.
Jones has received offers from Northern Colorado and North Dakota State. Colorado State has made an in-home visit while UNO has been in contact. A planned unofficial visit to Colorado State in the spring was put on hold due to the surgery.
Jones’ strengths are her mid-range jump shot and rebounding from the guard position.
“The pull-up jumper is my favorite shot, I love an up-tempo style and I love to rebound,” Jones said. “It’s fun to battle for loose balls.”
Jones doesn’t have a dream school in mind but said she wants to go to a place that will help her grow on and off the court.
“I want to know they are going to push me and it’s not just basketball,” she said.
Jones is excited to be full strength and is looking forward to joining her All Nebraska Attack teammates this summer.
“I am super excited to play with such a talented group of girls and I’m looking forward to growing friendships,” she said.
She hopes to decide on a college before the high school basketball season.