When Jess Knapp finished her Penn career on March 6 at Princeton, you may have thought that the DP’s exhaustive coverage of the senior playing with two torn knee ligaments was over.
Think again. We’re milking everything we can out of this storyline. Luckily, there’s actually been some developing news.
Though it was expected that Knapp would opt for ACL and MCL reconstructive surgery after the season, the can-do senior, who led Penn to its best start in program history, decided she wasn’t ready to give up basketball just yet.
“I figured if I could still walk, then I could still play,” Knapp said matter-of-factly. “Anyone who loves basketball like I do would do the same thing.”
So Knapp decided to join a local recreational basketball league, and in her first game, she broke her left leg diving for a ball. Not surprisingly, Knapp decided to play through the pain and stay in the game.
“I didn’t even notice that her leg was broken, honestly,” Pat Knapp, the former Quakers coach who has no relation to Jess whatsoever (really, he doesn’t). “Her left knee is already so screwed up that she’s basically indifferent to the pain.”
Throughout the second half, Knapp was literally playing on one leg, but that didn’t hinder her in the slightest, as she managed to pull down 14 rebounds in the game.
But in the final minutes, while going for another board, she landed awkwardly on her right leg.
“As soon as I stopped feeling pain in my left leg, I was like, ‘Oops, there goes another one!’” Knapp said.
Knapp was faced with a crossroads: finally let her legs and knees heal properly and actually have a decent chance to walk at age 30, or find a way to keep playing.
“I was seriously considering stepping away from the game,” Knapp said, “until I got a call from the NAPWB.”
Yes, Jess Knapp is going pro in the National Association of Professional Wheelchair Basketball.
Knapp will immediately join the Philly Stars.
The story has yet to make national headlines, but one superstar who has experience playing with a broken leg took notice.
“Yo, I know what it takes to play when you broke your f*ckin leg,” Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings said. “She’s the most hard-nosed player in the Ivy League.”
For more information, check out this related story.