KNOXVILLE — Cait McMahan will be watching from the bench this season as the Tennessee Lady Vols defend their national championship, but that won’t lessen her enthusiasm as a member of the team.
The former Heritage standout and Lady Vol sophomore had knee surgery in June that will keep her on a measured and lengthy rehabilitation during the upcoming basketball season, but she will be at every practice and every game.
“It is frustrating, but there are some people out there that are in much worse situations than I am,” McMahan said on Thursday at Lady Vol Media Day. “I’m watching the girls practice and hitting the weight room and working hard at that, so it’s OK.
“(I plan to be a ) leader, a vocal leader. When coaches get down on players, I want to be there for them and let them know what’s going on.”
McMahan, who averaged 14 minutes a game at backup point guard in her freshman season, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee in 2005, and has had recurring problems since then.
“There was a hole in my bone and it had to be refilled,” McMahan said. “The surgery I had before the season was arthroscopic. They were going in to see what was going on. They told me I could either have the surgery then or after the season.”
McMahan chose to play her freshman year.
“It killed me the whole season. I had to miss some practices because of the swelling,” she said.
“Right now I’m doing therapy in the weight room, single-leg stuff. Depending on what my knee looks like, (assistant athletic director for sports medicine) Jenny (Moshak) lets me do other things. Some days she lets me do defensive slides and I do a lot of bouncing.”
McMahan is known for doing a lot of bouncing on the bench, too, and that will continue this season as she works slowly toward being able to run and make cuts again.
“I asked Jenny (about running). It’s either late December or January,” McMahan said. “We’re not pushing it at all because it’s a healing process. But I’m hoping it’ll be January.”