OPOTIKI'S Monica Falkner playing for the Magic last season is side lined with a serious injury and hopes to make a return to the court in May. Photo Michael Bradley Photography

IT’S been three months since Opotiki’s Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic netballer Monica Falkner did her anterior cruciate ligament in a match for the New Zealand All Stars.

She was leaping up for a ball and landed awkwardly and when Falkner hit the ground, she knew something was wrong.

The 23-year-old felt her knee go and hoped for the good but had fears it was bad.
“I knew pretty much straight away that it was a bad injury, the way it felt after I had done it.’’

It was Falkner’s first serious injury of her career and took a bit for her to get used to it.

“I tried to make myself think that it wasn’t going to be too bad because it happened on a

Friday afternoon and we couldn’t get it checked until the Monday, so I was trying to make myself think it wasn’t too bad all weekend.’’

When the results came back a week later, Falkner was rocked by the news it was her ACL and she needed surgery.

Falkner said she watched a lot of television after the operation.

“I think I pretty much watched nearly every show on Netflix.’’

She said her spirits were low initially.

“It has taken some time to get over it. I only just watched the video of it happening for the first time yesterday and it looks like a bomb went off in my knee.’’

The Opotiki-born netballer said the injury was an unlucky one.

“It’s one where everything has to be going the wrong way and on this specific incident it was. If my hand was in a different direction or any other part of the body, it would have prevented the injury, so it’s one of those things.’’

Falkner said they were aiming for a mid-May return to the court, which would give her about five games of the regular season for the Magic.

“We are aiming for that, but if it doesn’t work then I won’t be rushing it. I want to be fully ready to get back on the court. I am young so it isn’t worth rushing it if I’m not right.’’

Fortunately for Falkner, former team-mate Casey Kopua has the same injury during her career so had been supportive, as have current team-mates Holly Fowler and Whitney Souness.

“They’ve been great and helped given me some advice around recovery and various things as well as support.’’

She is now back walking on the knee and hopes to be running around the five-month mark.

“That is the time they have given us but we will just have to wait and see if it is exact.’’

Falkner has been doing a lot of upper-body strength.

“I have been doing whatever I can so far, there’s been a lot of upper strength work, but we are getting there. I am frustrated but it’s one of those things I can’t dwell on.’’

Shooting is something she can still do, so has been putting up a number of shots, while she has been helping and doing whatever she can with her Magic team-mates.

“It’s quite hard; I do what I can.’’

She has recently picked up a part-time job in Hamilton to help take her mind off things.

“It’s just three hours a week but it is a nice getaway for me and something else to focus on.’’

Falkner will attend all the side’s home games and matches in Auckland and has admitted it will be hard watching.

“I definitely prefer playing and being out there. I am not the greatest watcher of netball.’’

If there was a positive for Falkner regarding the injury, she said that it happened at the end of the season.

“I am only young, and fortunately it happened at the end of a four-year cycle, so I have plenty of time to get myself ready and ahead of the world cup in four years’ time.’’