Starting in every game of his junior season in 2015-16 and scoring a total of 362 points for the Truman men last year, senior guard Kyle Kanaskie has come to a dominant and reliable force throughout his career for the Bulldogs. However, after an injury and subsequent operation over the summer, Kanaskie took on a new role for his final season as a Bulldog, including a decrease in court time to recover.
Head Coach Chris Foster says after Kanaskie tore his meniscus — the cushioning cartilage between the femur and the tibia — in the 2015-2016 season, the surgery in the summer left Kanaskie functioning with little of his meniscus remaining. Foster says because of this, Kanaskie has had to take a more reserved role this season. Foster says despite the injury, Kanaskie has shown considerable resolve, and has continued to compete and contribute in games, which is something most athletes with a similar injury would not be able to overcome.
“He still plays, but we’ve slowed him down a bit,” Foster says. “He may not be able to move as well or as quickly as he used to, but to his credit, he’s fought through it and has been able to help us a lot this year … Kyle’s always been a ‘team first’ kind of guy. He came in looking to finish his senior year strong, and he’s had a really successful run alongside our other seniors.”
Kanaskie says rest plays a large role in his recovery. He says though doctors initially gave him a 50 percent chance to play again, he has managed to make the most of his situation and join the Bulldogs for competition on gamedays. Kanaskie says the Bulldogs are a strong unit and can easily carry on with an injured senior. He says he’s comfortable knowing the team can do special things this year despite his injury.
“You just have to stay positive,” Kanaskie says. “Obviously, nobody wants to be injured, but sometimes it happens. And I can’t let that keep me from being a really good teammate and helping the other guys do well on the court.”
Senior forward Billy Daniel says Kanaskie has never complained through the injury, and has retained the same attitude and effort he has always had.
“I think we see how much Kyle has worked to get back to where he’s at health-wise,” Daniel says. “He’s been a great force to inspire the rest of the team to excel. He’s been such a great leader for the team.”