Recovering Gray keen to rejoin Steel

Dani Gray's recovery from a serious knee injury during last year's ANZ Premiership is going well. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Dani Gray's recovery from a serious knee injury during last year's ANZ Premiership is going well. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Dani Gray's recovery from knee surgery is coming along well - timing just did not align quite right.

Today marks six months since the 23-year-old had surgery after her season-ending injury during last season's ANZ Premiership.

A ruptured ACL and damaged MCL, meniscus and cartilage left her sidelined for not just last season, but most of this one too.

It had been a short turnaround between seasons, last year's being later and this year's earlier to accommodate the Commonwealth Games and World Cup.

That was unfortunate, as it left her out of time to make a push to reclaim a spot in the Southern Steel midcourt.

However, she remains upbeat.

Her knee is recovering well and she was hoping to appear in the Southern Blast's later Beko League games.

She can do ''pretty much everything, except court work, now''.

That included lots of running and gym work, while on Tuesday she had her first court-based conditioning session.

Court work was still likely a month away, although that excited Gray, who said it had gone fast, despite having her dark stages.

''When I first did it I was fine and I was positive.

''It was that first month after surgery that I was really struggling, to be honest.

''Just the fact that I couldn't do simple stuff that I could do before, like straighten my leg. It was just really frustrating.

''But I'm feeling much better now, much more positive.''

Gray did not remember much about the night of her injury.

She had come on late in a drubbing the Steel was receiving from the Central Pulse in Porirua.

The night quickly became a whole lot worse for the team.

''I just remember Teeps [Te Paea Selby-Rickit] passed me this pass at the transverse and I just remember something really wasn't right and I went straight down.

''It wasn't nice, but they had me on some nice gas afterwards, so it didn't hurt too much.''

Despite that gas, it had been ''quite painful'' at the time, although not as bad as immediately after surgery.

Up until that point, Gray had impressed in her chances in the wing defence bib while Wendy Frew was on a restricted duties after an Achilles injury.

While the knee injury ended Gray's involvement on the court, she remained with the Steel.

She continued training with the team as much as possible in Dunedin and was glad to have done so.

When the side made the final, a thrilling win over the Central Pulse in Palmerston North, she took advantage of its proximity to her hometown of Ohau and made the trip.

''I was pretty lucky to still be a part of that.

''I live up where the final was being played. I went up there to support the girls.

''I was still hugely a part of it, which was really awesome. I still got to celebrate that night, which was awesome too.''

Getting back into Steel colours may be too much to ask this year.

But it remains her goal for further down the track and that is her focus.

''I feel like I didn't give it a proper go, if you know what I mean? It was cut short quite soon.

''I want to see if I can get
back there.

''If I can't, that fine too, that's how it goes, but that's that goal for sure.''

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