Pain does not slow Glenwood Springs junior |

Pain does not slow Glenwood Springs junior

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Whether tossing her body around on the basketball or the volleyball court, Lexie Warkentin plays with a motor that’s always revved to the max.

So it’s no surprise that a torn ulnar collateral ligament in her right elbow has done little to slow the Glewnood Springs High School junior. Though she’s in need of Tommy John surgery to repair the injury, which she suffered toward the end of volleyball season, Warkentin is still playing basketball.

Even though the pain is unrelenting, she’s playing well.

“There’s definitely pain with certain things I do, like shooting from a distance,” Warkentin said. “Shooting from long distance is pretty painful. Rebounds are pretty tricky, but you’ve got to work around it. I’m starting to get immune to the pain.”

She’s taken to shooting free throws with her left hand and her shooting range on field goals extends only a few feet from the basket, but Warkentin finds ways to contribute. She still rebounds, blocks shots, chases down loose balls and comes up with steals – all with the hustle, tenacity and reckless abandon that she’s known for.

“It’s really pretty amazing, actually, to know that she should be having surgery- that’s how bad her arm is – but she’s playing through it,” teammate Kenzie Kuhn said. “She still plays just as hard as she would have if her arm hadn’t been hurt.”

Glenwood girls basketball coach Bryan Derby agrees.

“It says a lot about her,” he said. “She’s a great kid and she’s a team kid. Hurt or not, she’s going to come out and give you 110 percent.”

Warkentin, who sports a red sleeve on her arm during games and a bulky black brace the rest of the time, does need the reconstructive Tommy John surgery at some point.

“I’m supposed to have the surgery on Dec. 29, but we cancelled that,” she said. “When I do get the surgery, it’s six months until I can hit a volleyball.”

Finish off a basketball season in pain or have surgery and begin the rehabilitation process? That’s the decision Warkentin is staring at.

She can damage the ligament no further by playing basketball, but other injuries may result. And then there’s the pain, which, in a weird way, Warkentin’s grown accustomed to.

“It hurt at the beginning, but, you know, it’s just like that thing where it doesn’t really bother you anymore,” she said. “It’s more like that annoying little sound that you get used to.”

And then there’s the fact that Warkentin and the girls basketball Demons are off to a red-hot, 9-0 start, making it all the more difficult to step away.

Whatever she decides, one thing’s certain: Her teammates will support and respect whatever she chooses to do.

“We just told her she should do whatever’s best for her,” Kuhn said. “Really, it’s her and her family’s decision. We’d love to have her stay with us, especially since we’ve had such a great season, but it’s her decision.”

It’s a delicate decision that’ll require all sorts of soul searching and deliberation.

“I have no clue,” Warkentin said. “I’m just going game by game.”

Whatever she chooses, she’s already contributed mightily to the Demons’ early-season success.

“She’s come in here and given us more minutes than I ever thought she could with her arm being hurt,” Derby said. “I told her I’m not going to give her the pros or cons. Her decision is whatever it is and I respect that decision.”

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