Friday, 13 March 2009

Oft-injured Labentowicz toughs it out

Knee, ankle, leg... Gee-Gee toughs it out

by Shane Ross, Sun Media

After every Ottawa Gee-Gees basketball game, forward David Labentowicz unwinds with a nice, relaxing bath -- in a tub full of ice.

No bubbles, except for the swelling on his left knee, which will need surgery in the summer. And his ankle, which he twisted during Saturday's game. Oh, and his lower leg, where he pulled a muscle.

Doesn't sound comfy.

"It's not," said Labentowicz. "But it's something I have to do. Basically, I live and die with ice."

On a team considered the most athletic in the CIS, Labentowicz is Ottawa's "banger, he goes in there and mucks it," said coach Dave DeAveiro.

"He sacrifices his body for the team. He's adopted that role, and he's fit it real well."

When the Gee-Gees need a quick basket, they go to the Joshes -- Wright or Gibson-Bascombe -- or look inside to big man Dax Dessureault.

But Labentowicz, a 6-foot-6 forward in his fifth year, is confident in the offensive zone as well.

"My role primarily is for defence and rebounding, but if it comes down to hitting a last-second shot, I'll do it."

This will be the last basketball the Toronto native will be playing for a while. He'll have to take at least a year off after microfracture surgery -- the same procedure done on NBA players Greg Oden and Amare Stoudemire.

Despite the wear and tear, Labentowicz has no regrets.

"A lot of people can't say they've experienced what I've experienced."

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