A significant part of the UPEI Panthers basketball team has been lost for the season.
Donathan (Donnie) Moss had surgery earlier this month on his right knee, which he injured in a pre-season game at St. F.X.’s tournament. He said it was tough hearing during the past week he won’t play this season.
“You definitely want to be there to help the team, but I think it’s for the best for me and the team right now,” he told The Guardian Wednesday.
The fourth-year guard remains upbeat and chipper.
“It’s just a little setback,” he said. “In life there’s setbacks, you just have to get across them.”
It is important for him, he said, to remain positive as others are dealing with a lot more serious issues than he is.
Moss has been a mainstay at the team’s practices and games despite the injury. He plans on being a vocal component of the team from the sidelines until he can get back on the court.
“I’m still the captain of the team, I’m just injured,” Moss said. “I’m still going to be there supporting them.”
But the impact of losing a guy, who filled the score sheet last year, is undeniable.
“It’s huge,” coach Tim Kendrick said Wednesday. “Those are big losses to overcome, but nobody is going to feel sorry for us.”
He said the strength of the team at the start of the season was its depth. That depth is going to be challenged to overcome the loss of Moss.
“Donnie was a very good player,” Kendrick said. “We can’t expect one of our rookies to give us what Donnie did. We have to be collectively better.”
Moss tweaked his knee while playing at Holland College a few years ago. It was diagnosed as a tear in the cartilage at the time.
This year's injury happened when a player roll up on the side of his knee this fall in Antigonish, N.S. Kendrick likened it to a football injury.
“It sheared the cartilage,” he said. “It’s a very serious injury.”
The team had initially hoped to have Moss back in the new year.
“The extent of the injury, once (the doctors) got in there, was quite a bit more than initially thought,” Kendrick explained.
When the basketball staff met with the medical officials, the most optimistic view was for Moss to be back on the court by mid-February. The Atlantic University Sport basketball playoffs begin March 1.
Kendrick is pleased with how his team has played so far. The Panthers (3-2) conclude the first semester Saturday in Halifax against the Dalhousie Tigers (1-4) at 4 p.m.
“Our expectations don’t change,” Kendrick said. “We’re still planning to be there at the end.”
Who: A six-foot-five guard for the UPEI Panthers
Hometown: Nassau, Bahamas
2011-12 stats: 18 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.
What’s up: Has been shut down for the year following knee surgery.