An ACL tear. Just the mention of one is enough to send any athlete limping for the hills.
For Newburyport baseball pitcher Evan Habib, the injury was a reality not once but twice in the past two years, on both of his knees.
“You have to give him credit for having the ability to come back from adversity, not only once but twice,” said Newburyport coach Steve Malenfant. “And when you think about the fact that he didn’t have his surgery very long ago, and that he comes back and has been so effective for us, he’s done a tremendous job that way.”
A two-sport varsity athlete, Habib scored his first varsity touchdown playing football against Masconomet in October of his sophomore year. The very next play, the tight end was hit on the left knee, tearing both his ACL and MCL.
“That was tough because the MCL was added on,” said Habib. “I had to have surgery on the MCL, which they don’t usually do. So I had to have surgery on both, and it made the recovery time a bit longer.”
Habib spent the next eight months off the field and had an injury-free junior year playing football and baseball. But fate struck again during Habib’s fourth football game of his senior year at the Manning Bowl against St. Mary’s of Lynn when his right knee gave out on him.
“After going through it once, I knew right away that it was torn,” Habib said. “It’s a stabbing pain. But it’s not as much painful as it is frustrating. You can do linear moves, just nothing lateral.”
Hoping for the best, Habib had the knee taped up and finished the game, but there was no escaping the diagnosis: surgery and another 24 weeks on the sidelines at a minimum.