Next season, Greg Gantt will be watching basketball from the sidelines.
The soon-to-be graduated guard and Owls all-time leading scorer tore his right patella tendon on Monday night.
Gantt will undergo surgery this week and is expected to miss six to eight months, likely putting his professional basketball dreams on hold.
Following a team study session at The Burrow, Gantt was running drills with former teammates — Owls guard Pablo Bertone, forward Kelvin Penn, and center Justin Raffington — when the unthinkable happened during a routine layup.
“I was still in the air, looked down and it looked like something was coming out of my leg,” Gantt said. “My teammates were in shock.”
The patellar tendon connects the patella (kneecap) to the tibia (shin bone). According to About Orthopedics, torn patellar tendons are common with young, male athletes. “Typically the injury involves an awkward landing from a jumping position where the quadriceps muscle is contracting, but the knee is being forcefully straightened. This is a so-called eccentric contraction and places a tremendous stress on the tendon.”
Patella tears comes in two varieties — complete or partial. In Gantt’s case, it was the former and the effects were noticeable almost instantaneously.
“When I fell down, I felt like a tear in my leg,” said Gantt. “I was shocked and hollering and in a lot of pain.”
That’s when Penn called 911 while he, Bertone, and Raffington tried to help Gantt stand up and bend his leg. When he couldn’t, he was rushed in an ambulance to the emergency room to get an MRI.
Gantt remained in the hospital for a better part of the evening, but he wasn’t alone. FAU head coach Mike Jarvis stopped in at around 11 p.m. to offer his support, and even went with his former player on Tuesday to schedule the appointment for surgery.
Jarvis’ son, Owls assistant coach Mike Jarvis II, also wished Gantt well.
“I feel bad for [Gantt] but I know things will work out for the best. He will graduate next month and then focus on rehabilitation,” Jarvis II said.
Meanwhile, Gantt, who is used to being relied upon on the court, now needs assistance off of it, something that doesn’t sit right with him.
“I don’t really like asking for help,” Gantt said. “But I need it and it’s necessary. I’m in a lot of pain. It’s hard to get around. I can’t really shower or stand up on myself.”
Such a severe injury can test one’s will, but Gantt’s faith is keeping his spirits up and hopes high.
“I’m a strong believer in Christ,” Gantt said. “I have such a good opportunity to play professional basketball. I’m doing the right thing so I can get back with the agencies.”
Gantt says that a couple of scouting agencies are still coming down to Boca to check him out, a reason for positivity according to his ex-coach.
“[Jarvis says there will be] a lot of hard work but its for the best and it’ll make me 10 times stronger,” Gantt said.
And he seems to be heeding the call.
“I’ve always worked hard my entire life,” Gantt said. “This is just another stepping stone I have to step over.”