Steamboat Springs senior Nikki Fry battling back from knee injury

Steamboat Springs High School senior Nikki Fry shoots Saturday during practice. Fry is working her way back from an ACL tear.

— If it were up to Steamboat Springs High School senior Nikki Fry, 2013 would just get here.

The three-sport athlete is frankly sick of just watching.

Fry, who burst onto the scene with a tremendous junior year, saw her senior season get off to a horrible start.

Fry was playing in a basketball tournament during the Memorial Day weekend when she heard a pop in her left knee.

The news wasn’t good. She tore her ACL and was facing at least seven months of rehab.

It cost her the volleyball season, one where she likely would have been an all-league performer.

It will cost her the beginning of the basketball season, but Fry is aiming for Jan. 1 as a return to the court.

“I want it to be tomorrow,” she said. “But I have a couple more months. All I can do is continue to strengthen it and help the team the second half of the season.”

It was a big blow to the volleyball and basketball teams. Last season, Fry proved to be a threat on the outside in volleyball and arguably was Steamboat’s best basketball player.

The fall season specifically was hard on Fry. While she watched her volleyball teammates struggle through the season, she still remained part of the team.

She helped run drills with the freshman team and was a constant on the bench throughout the year.

“I couldn’t just go home after school and do nothing,” she said. “I had to at least be a part of the team. I wanted to be a leader even if it was off the court.”

If there is a silver lining to the injury, it has been Fry’s development off the court.

She’s not just a bystander at practices. She takes everything in that she can.

“It’s a lot of mental stuff,” she said.

Although she still has a minor limp, Fry is progressing. She’s been cleared for light workouts and running.

She can do all the non-contact drills and has been fitted for a brace.

Still, the Steamboat girls basketball team will miss her. Fry is the team’s best rebounder and best scorer in the post.

But it might not be as bad as originally thought. Fry’s absence will be felt, but Steamboat possibly is as deep as it has been in coach John Ameen’s tenure.

Ameen said he’ll likely keep a rotation of eight or nine players, but he thinks he has the depth to go 12 or 13 deep.

“She provides a tenacity. Especially on the offensive glass,” Ameen said about Fry. “We saw that missing this summer. She is a physical presence.”

Fry will miss a couple of early season tournaments but should be back for the slate of league games.

There likely will be rust, too, but Fry said Jan. 1 can’t get here soon enough.

“It’s getting better,” she said. “I’m just ready to start playing again.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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