Dujuanta Weaver had been through this before.
This time around, something seemed very, very different.
“It didn’t feel the same,” the EKU sophomore guard said.
Weaver had already torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in both of his knees — the left one in high school, then the right one in 2016 — before he was injured in an exhibition game against Georgetown College on Nov. 3 at McBrayer Arena.
The original diagnosis this time around was not good.
“The MRI showed it was completely torn — the MCL, ACL and the PCL (in his left knee),” EKU coach Dan McHale said.
It was unclear at that point if Weaver would ever be able to play again.
“I was devastated,” Weaver said.
That feeling was slowly replaced by a growing sense of optimism.
Weaver was able to run and jump without any pain and went with the Colonels for a two-game trip to Las Vegas in late November.
“I just took (Weaver) along as a feel-good (thing),” McHale said. “I wanted him to be with me and help me coach the team. But, he was hopping around and he kept telling me, ‘Coach, I’m telling you it’s not torn.’”
Weaver was right.
The redshirt sophomore, who is affectionately called Tay by his teammates, was examined by the doctor in Louisville who had performed his first surgery.
The second opinion determined that the MRI showed scar tissue, not a tear.
“It was amazing. The kid knew it,” McHale said of Weaver.
On Dec. 2, Weaver was back on the court as the Colonels (6-6) took on Jacksonville University at McBrayer Arena.
The sophomore guard made his first-career start last week against Charleston Southern and then had six points and five rebounds in Monday’s win over Norfolk State in Richmond.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Weaver said. “All my teammates have supported me. It’s a great feeling.”
Injuries have kept Weaver off the court for most of his college career.
After receiving all-state honors at Doss High School in Louisville, the 5-foot-10 guard earned playing time as a freshman at EKU.
He tore his ACL in the Ohio Valley Conference opener against Austin Peay on Jan. 2, 2016.
Weaver played in just 16 games.
He was forced to sit out the entire 2016-2017 season.
The exhibition game against Georgetown College was the first time Weaver had been back on the court in 22 months.
It was heartbreaking for his teammates to watch the guard suffer what appeared to be another serious injury.
“It was sad, especially to happen to him. He is a great person and teammate,” junior center Nick Mayo said of Weaver. “We just did a lot of praying and God handled it.”
Just more than a month later, Weaver is back.
The sophomore matched a career-best with 28 minutes in a loss to Northern Kentucky on Dec. 10 and has been in the starting line-up the past two games.
In five games this season, Weaver is averaging 4.8 points and 2.0 rebounds a game. He’s also shooting 50 percent from three-point range (8-of-16).
More importantly, he’s been an inspiration to his teammates and everyone associated with the program.
“He’s the heart and soul of our team. I’ve said that from day one,” McHale said of Weaver. “He gets our defense going. He’s shooting the heck out of the ball right now. He covers for a lot of guys. He’s such a good defender and plays so hard. He is everything to this team.”