Los Angeles Preps: Felix Cortez

Ventura's Jon McMurry is a study in perseverance

March, 2, 2011

VENTURA -- It was Dec. 12, 2009, Jon McMurry remembers the day well.

He was on the basketball court, practicing alongside his Ventura High teammates. It was one of those typical Saturday afternoon scrimmages, nothing too out of the ordinary.

Then, all of a sudden, McMurry ran into a teammate, seemingly at full speed. He went down hard, to be sure, much harder than normal. Things immediately became not so ordinary.

He was lying face down on the hardwood, writhing in pain with a left knee injury, far more serious than anyone could have possibly imagined at the time.

The scenario plays over and over in his mind. It is difficult to forget.

The road to recovery has been long and arduous. McMurry, however, has successfully battled back and will be in uniform for the Cougars on Saturday when they face Mission Viejo in the Southern Section Division 2AA championship game at the Anaheim Convention Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:45 p.m.

“I went through a rough time, for a while, it seemed like forever. My future was uncertain, I thought playing basketball again might not ever happen, '' McMurry said. “Right after my injury, I was in a wheelchair for four months and on crutches for five or six more months. The rehab was tough, my knee is still weak, painful. That wasn't going to stop from coming back.''

Rest assured, having McMurry in the lineup against the second-seeded Diablos (29-1) is a must if top-seeded Ventura (28-2) hopes to bring the title home.

Considering all of the damage that was initially done, it is difficult to believe he actually made a return to the rotation for the Cougars. McMurry did, after all, dislocate his kneecap less than two years ago during his junior season. Making matters worse, he tore his medial collateral ligament, partially tore his anterior cruciate ligament and broke the lateral condyle of his femur.

“It's a bad, bad memory, Jon's injury was as bad as any I've seen in all of my many years,'' Ventura coach Dan Larson said. “The pain he was in, getting the emergency people out here to our gym as quickly as possible and trying to keep him calm. After he hit the floor, one of our assistant coaches was holding what was left of his knee together. It was completely destroyed.

“We've had some bad ones here, but Jon's situation was one of the top five bad injuries of all time at the school. It was just a terribly bad knee injury, it was just gruesome.''

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