Honaker’s LeeAnna McNulty (32) will be sidelined for about six months.

A knee injury has temporarily sidelined one of the top girls basketball players in Southwest Virginia.

Honaker High School standout LeeAnna McNulty is preparing to undergo surgery for a torn ACL, which will delay the start of her junior season.

McNulty’s injury occurred on June 16 at the University of Charleston’s elite camp in West Virginia.

“I was dribbling full speed down the court and I was going to pull up for a jumper,” McNulty said. “As I pulled up and jumped I felt my knee pop. It felt like my kneecap shifted.”

An MRI was conducted a few days later and on June 21 the diagnosis was confirmed that McNulty had a torn ACL in her left knee. She will have surgery on July 19 or 22.

“The doctors say the average [recovery] time is six months, while returning in a brace,” McNulty said.

As a sophomore, McNulty averaged 24 points, 14 rebounds, three steals, three blocks and two assists per game in being named Black Diamond District and Region 1D player of the year. The Tigers went 26-3, won the Region 1D title and advanced to the state semifinals.

She has already racked up more than 1,000 career points.

“I know how much LeeAnna works at this game and it is heartbreaking,” said Honaker coach Misty Davis Miller. “I hate it so bad for her, but with knowing her work ethic, I know she will be back stronger than ever. … She is not only an amazing basketball player, but even more so an amazing young lady. She has handled this challenge with such a good attitude and grace. She is currently doing physical therapy and getting ready for surgery. She has a great orthopedic surgeon and I know that she will work extremely hard in her post-surgery physical therapy to get back as soon as she can.”

Carson-Newman, Lee University, the University of Pikeville and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise have extended scholarship offers to the 5-foot-10 McNulty.

“The injury is frustrating,” McNulty said. “I know God has a plan and I have an opportunity to come back smarter and stronger. I have a better appreciation for the game and this injury shows how quick it can all be taken away. The past few weeks I have been in physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in my leg, regain full mobility of my knee and to get the swelling down. … I am looking forward to getting through the surgery and to start preparing to get back on the court with my teammates.”

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