USC's Jacki Gemelos Won't Give Up on Basketball Despite Injuries

Gemelos underwent surgery Tuesday after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in a knee for the fourth time since 2006. Her goal is to get healthy and play in the WNBA.

Los Angeles Times—January 17, 2012


On Dec. 18, USC guard Jacki Gemelos lay crumpled on a court, crying, the ligament that provides stability in a knee was torn, again, her life unstable, again, and her USC basketball career over.

Unfortunately, she played just 57 games in three seasons for the Trojans because of four torn anterior cruciate ligaments, two in each knee.

On Tuesday, she underwent ACL reconstruction surgery. It was her fifth surgery in seven years, after one of the surgeries had to be repeated because of complications.

She'll rehabilitate for eight to 12 months, relearning to walk, to run, to trust her knees that keep betraying her. Her goal is to get healthy, then try and play in the WNBA.

Female athletes are up to 10 times more likely to suffer ACL tears than males, said Dr. Robert Marx, an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Among the reasons: females have wider hips, weaker hamstrings and after jumping tend to land knock-kneed, with their knees pointing inward. Marx, who has operated on hundreds of torn ACLs, said he now sees more tears among female athletes because they're involved in sports at younger ages.

But trying to play after four tears?

"My personal recommendation to people like her is, enough is enough," Marx said.

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