Bullitt East's Duvall has tumor near knee, will miss junior season

Bullitt East's Duvall has tumor near knee, will miss junior season

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Bullitt East's Duvall has tumor near knee, will miss junior season

Talented point guard recently committed to UK

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Talented point guard recently committed to UK

Lindsey Duvall, the Bullitt East High School junior guard who recently committed to the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team, will not play during the 2015-16 season after a grape-sized tumor was found below her left knee three weeks ago.

Duvall is scheduled to have surgery Thursday in Louisville, and doctors will determine then the type of tumor and the full recovery period. Duvall said Thursday she plans to be ready to play her senior season at Bullitt East.

Lady Chargers coach Chris Stallings said doctors have determined the tumor is either a chondroblastoma or a giant-cell tumor.

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute defines a chondroblastoma as “a rare, benign bone tumor comprised of cells that produce cartilage.” Giant-cell tumors are rarely malignant.

“If it’s one of those two, they’ll remove it and either put a bone graft in there or bone cement,” Duvall said.

Stallings said the tumor will be sent off for further diagnosis, regardless of Thursday’s initial findings. Stallings said Duvall will be released from the hospital Thursday, and the total recovery from the surgery should take 4-6 months.

Duvall said she began feeling pain around the knee during last season.

“But it would go away,” she said. “When I started practicing (for this season) I could feel it a lot more. It wouldn’t go away. And (the tumor) is sort of bigger now.”

The 5-foot-10 Duvall is ranked by the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report as the No. 3 point guard and No. 10 overall recruit in the nation in the Class of 2017.

A member of the Bullitt East varsity squad since she was a seventh-grader, Duvall was a second-team All-State selection by The Courier-Journal last season after averaging 23.7 points and 7.5 rebounds. She shot 81.5 percent from the free-throw line and 34 percent from 3-point range.

Duvall committed to UK last week after also considering Louisville and Michigan. Stallings said all three schools have been aware of Duvall’s condition in recent weeks.

“They were in constant contact with Lindsey’s family and me,” Stallings said. “And they were all behind us. And they have not stopped contacting us. They showed that they didn’t just care about Lindsey as a player but also as a person. …

“It meant a lot that UK stood behind her and her commitment. That was really big. All three schools are concerned about her well-being and want to keep up with her, UK especially.”

Duvall said she plans to be on the bench with her team during this season. Bullitt East was 22-9 last season, finishing as the Sixth Region runner-up, and was expected to be among the top teams in the region again.

With Duvall sitting on 1,999 career points, Stallings joked she could see the court in a safe situation this season in order to reach 2,000.

“I told her she had to get better pretty quick so she could be our technical (foul) free-throw shooter,” Stallings said. “She looked at me with that sly grin and said, ‘Are you serious?’ I said, ‘Yes, I am.’ She said, ‘All right then.’ She perked up a little bit.

“She’s a part of whatever we do here and will be for the rest of her life. … As soon as she’s able, we want her back.”

Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and jfrakes@courier-journal.com.

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