February 28, 2005

Legge Endures Injuries To Become A Key Player

Feb. 28, 2005

By Jaclyn Ruiz
SCU Media Relations

Suffering through injuries and illness, Santa Clara University men's basketball player Jordan Legge is eager to contribute as much as he can to the Broncos in the upcoming West Coast Conference Championships.

"I really don't understand why anyone would want to write an article about me," said Legge modestly when contactaed to setup the interview for this story.

It is his humble attitude which defines Legge as the player that he is both on and off the court. What many fans fail to notice when watching Legge play is not his sheer instinct for the game or his selfless attitude on the court but, instead, a black knee brace that represents the struggles Legge has dealt with since he started as a Bronco.

According to SCU coach Dick Davey, "Injuries and illness have been a problem for Jordan since he has been at Santa Clara, but he is capable of being a solid player for us."

After Legge began his career as a standout athlete, achieving the fifth-highest total rebounds ever for a Bronco freshman, many would never suspect the struggles that he has undergone. Injury or not Legge never ceases to impress both his coaches, teammates and fans with his hardworking drive. It may, in fact, be his instinct to constantly push himself to be a better player that has affected Legge's well-being.

"Jordan is one of hardest working and most talented players I have had the privilege of playing with," said teammate Scott Borchart. "Despite his unusual injury, Jordan has always stayed positive and fought through the injury despite the pain he has had to endure."

The injuries began to plague Legge's basketball career during the preseason of his sophomore year when he began suffering from chronic swelling in his knee. After what seemed like an endless number of doctor visits, specialists decided to perform exploratory surgery in October of 2002.

Even though they were unable to determine what exactly was wrong, they did discover a cyst on the back of his knee which they presumed was causing the swelling. However, they also decided that removing the cyst would not alleviate the pain and that when his knee endured too much pressure or contact it would swell up.

"There were games that I couldn't play because my knee was too swollen," said Legge. "Every time it got too big I would have to get it drained. In total I have had it drained six times so far."

Even though he was in pain a lot of the time, Legge continued to play for the rest of the season, never really knowing when his knee would choose to swell up. He went on to play in 29 games his junior year until the pain would get to be too much, requiring him to take a break. It was his decision to push himself beyond his physical limits that took a toll on his playing ability. Legge was forced to work twice as hard to get back into shape and back to the level of his fellow teammates.

Then amidst his ongoing recovery process during the summer of 2004, he was struck with illness again when he contracted mononucleosis.

"Jordan was becoming one of the better players on the team during the off season, but contracted mono late in the summer and that really set him back," said Davey.

"I was unable to work out for a few months because I was too tired to do anything," said Legge. "While everyone else was working out in the preseason I was at home trying to recover. I didn't start playing again until the first week of regular season."

Being a senior leader on this year's team, Legge is glad to be back on the court and he doesn't want any sympathy for the tribulations he has undergone so far in his career. He is looking forward to contributing what he can to the team in the WCC tournament this weekend. There is no doubt he will be quite an asset.

"[Jordan] has a really strong instinct for rebounding and is a good shooter," said Coach Davey. "He is as good as anybody we have in all phases of the interior game."

"I'm just glad to be playing basketball," said Legge. "Everything happens for a reason and it is no one's fault, I have dealt with what has happened to me just as anyone else would have."