Michael Rogers, one of the best two-sport athletes in the state, got great news early in the week from his cardiologist.
His heart checked out fine, he said, and he was cleared to play basketball again this week. What, at first, was feared to be a heart issue was actually pneumonia that had lodged around his heart and in his lungs.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound junior guard played in his first game Tuesday for Laveen Cesar Chavez in a limited role after being out since mid-December.
“He really struggled early,” coach Gary Lee said, “but he did some really good things late.”
After Cesar Chavez (18-4) beat Phoenix Trevor Browne 68-60, the Champions and Rogers came back stronger on Thursday night against Phoenix Mountain Pointe.
Rogers had 17 points, helping the Champions win 72-63 and extend their winning streak to 11 games.
Rogers said that he had experienced tightness in his chest after a practice in December and told the school’s athletic trainer about it. Rogers was sent to the hospital, where he underwent extensive tests.
“A scan found pneumonia,” Rogers said. “My heart is fine. Those tests came back negative.
“At first, I was nervous. I feel relieved.”
Rogers, who is working hard to catch up academically in order to qualify for NCAA Division I sports, has a chance to be one of the greatest football players to come out of Arizona in the mold of former Chandler Hamilton player Terrell Suggs.
A running back and outside linebacker, Rogers led the state in yards per carry last season for those with at least 130 carries at 13.2. He ran for 1,942 yards and 22 touchdowns on 147 carries.
He was averaging more than 20 points on the basketball team before missing seven consecutive games.
Rogers said he feels he will only get better the rest of the season.
“I was given a few more breaks than usual, but I feel great,” he said. “It’s great to be back. We have a great team. Everybody is back now healthy and we feel we can make a run.”