Tolbert returns to the court

Drew McDonald, Sports Editor

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Junior Tiffany Tolbert was in a groove as the 2018-19 season began, but an injury during practice put her on the shelf for four months. 

Video by Kaitlyn Bowers

To start the 2018-19 season, Tolbert was explosive on the court, scoring 20 against top-ranked FSU and 21 against the Big Ten’s Indiana. 

“Going into the beginning of the season, I felt really confident in my ability to just find what I wanted and look for my teammates,” Tolbert said.

That hot start came to a screeching halt after an unexpected freak injury during practice. 

“We just got back from Indiana and it was a normal practice. I ended up slipping on some sweat on a jump stop and my left leg slipped, at the time I didn’t know what had happened. It got confirmed a couple of days later that I tore my ACL and I’d be out for the season,” Tolbert said. 

After hearing that she was out for the season, Tolbert had mixed emotions. 

“To hear that I tore my ACL, I had a lot of mixed emotions. Some was depressed, others were like denial, once I accepted it, I had to decide what’s next,” Tolbert said. 

Senior Adrienne Jackson talked about Tolbert’s injury and how it affected the team. 

“It hurt us but it made us want to do better on the court for her,” Jackson said. 

Jackson and Tolbert share a strong bond on and off the court. 

“Off the court, that’s my little cousin, my little sister. On the court, it’s about business so we take care of business but off the court, it’s all laughs and giggles,” Jackson said. 

Although she was out for the season, Tolbert still brought the high energy and positivity on the sidelines to support her team. 

“Being on the sideline and having to just be a cheerleader helped me love the game that much more. It pushed me to be better mentally and want to get back on the court faster,” Tolbert said. 

UNF Women’s Basketball Head Coach Darrick Gibbs talked about the importance of the  energy Tolbert brought on the sidelines. 

“It’s a testament to her character, who she is as a person. It (the injury) was devastating for her but she didn’t let her adversity disrupt her impact she felt she could have on the team. She brought a lot of comic relief and we all fed off of that, coaches and players alike,” Gibbs said. 

Throughout the season, Tolbert had to go through months of rehab. 

“Rehab was pretty rough, I was on the table for the majority of those first two months. Heel slides and working on my flexion and extension. It wasn’t what I expected, the pain was crazy. After I started walking again, I was able to jump, and I started running. The first two months were rough but I can honestly say that I enjoyed the process to get back,” Tolbert said. 

This summer, Tolbert has begun workouts with the team that has given her a familiar rush. . 

“It gave me a rush. I’m excited thinking about it because we have workouts and the whole team will be back this week. It gets me excited for the season and has showed me that I can pick back up where I left off,” Tolbert said

When asked what makes Tolbert stand out from the others in the ASUN Conference, Gibbs mentioned her energy and enthusiasm. 

“I think the thing that separates her will be a combination of her energy and enthusiasm that she brings a lot with the talent itself. She’s a great young lady who’s grown leaps and bounds for the short time that she’s been here. I think she’s special and we’ll have a special season for us,” Gibbs said. 

The Ospreys, who have reached the conference semifinals in back-to-back seasons, look to make a big splash and reach the finals this season.

 

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