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Smith hangs it up

For many athletes, one torn anterior cruciate ligament would be the end of their career. Lindsey Smith decided that two was enough for her.

Smith, a junior on the USF women’s basketball team, quit last week, just two weeks before the start of the Bulls’ 2001-02 season. Smith was in the midst of rehabilitating a torn ACL in her right knee.

“I’ve had two major surgeries, tore my left ACL my freshman year, the other one last year,” Smith said. “Coming back from surgery was really hard. When practice started (this fall), I wasn’t the player I used to be. I lost something. I’m happier not to play right now.”

Smith played 23 games her freshman year before suffering her first ACL injury Feb. 10, 2000, against Southern Mississippi.

“She thought for her future, that she would have to take a step away from basketball,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said. “She felt also, coming back from the knee injury, that she wasn’t 110 percent. Not being able to give her total effort to the team, (she thought) that she was going to slow us down.”

Smith’s second ACL injury occurred Feb. 18, 2001, after just two minutes against Marquette. Last season, Smith started 22 games, while averaging 5.8 points and 3.7 rebounds at forward for the Bulls.

“I want her to be happy, regardless if I want her to stay or not,” teammate Aiya Shepard said. “She’s happy with her decision and I’m happy for her.”

Smith, a native of Edmond, Okla., said she was looking forward to continuing her education, probably closer to home once the semester ends. However, she said basketball probably won’t be a part of her future.

“I know I’ll miss it,” Smith said. “The team will probably be pretty good. I’ll probably go see them play, but it’ll be awkward to watch. I feel I made the right decision. I just didn’t think I could do it anymore.”