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Hallettsville's Haynes battles back from knee injury

By MIKE FORMAN
Jan. 3, 2011 at 11 p.m.
Updated Jan. 2, 2011 at 7:03 p.m.

Hallettsville Brahmas' guard Dante Haynes tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while triple jumping before the regional track and field meet. Haynes had surgery and missed the football season.

All Dressed UpHallettsville, its fans, and the officials were at the Hallettsville gym on Monday night, but Salado wasn't. The game was canceled and is unlikely to be made up. The Brahmas play Weimar in a District 28-2A game Friday at the Hallettsville game.

Hallettsville's Haynes battles back from knee injury

HALLETTSVILLE - Hallettsville's Dante Haynes has learned what you see is not necessarily what you get.

Haynes was looking for ways to improve his triple jump before last year's regional track and field meet and wound up tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the process.

"I was watching world-famous triple jumpers on You Tube and I was trying to mimic what they were doing and I didn't succeed obviously," Haynes said. "I figured I was going to tighten up my game and I just blew it."

The injury cost Haynes, who will turn 18 on Friday, his senior season of football, but he wasn't about to let it keep him off the basketball court.

"The deal with Dante is I knew he would be back," said Hallettsville coach Rich Dozier. "His love for basketball, his passion for basketball is so high I knew he would be back."

All Haynes needed for motivation to return was last season.

He averaged 24.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.1 blocked shots per game while helping to lead the Brahmas to their first-ever state tournament appearance and earning co-player of the year honors with teammate Christian Wood-Dvorak on the Advocate's all-area team.

"We rehabbed so hard I was able to come back a little bit early to play," said Haynes, who worked with physical therapist Ron Johnson in Shiner.

"From Day 1 after surgery, he was devoted to getting back to the game," said Evette Haynes, Dante's mother. "He's always loved basketball. From the time when I put him in Little Dribblers in seventh grade."

Haynes returned in time for Hallettsville's first scrimmage and estimates he is 80 percent of where he was last season.

Haynes is averaging 23.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.7 steals for the No. 7 Class 2A Brahmas, who have a 16-4 record, with all of their losses coming to Class 3A and 4A teams.

"Dante's a dedicated athlete," Dozier said. "He did his rehab to the hilt all the way through. His recovery is awesome.

"He's not quite as strong as he's been. He's getting better every game. The Dante of before is not there yet, but he will surpass it in the long run."

The 6-foot-1 Haynes' speed and jumping ability made him an excellent penetrator, but he took advantage of his down time and worked on his jump shot.

The extra work paid off as Haynes made 10 of 18 two-point shots, 3 of 7 3-pointers, and 10 of 12 free throws while scoring 39 points in a 73-68 win over La Grange in the championship game of last week's Hallettsville tournament to earn MVP honors.

"We have that machine and he made 350 shots a day when he was not allowed to play competitively," Dozier said. "The deal with shooting is so much confidence and when you roll one direction and roll the other it makes a big deal."

Playing basketball has always been important to Haynes, who is determined to play on the college level and Dozier has no doubt he will.

"There is one thing that Dante has that I did not help him with and that is he is an incredible scorer," Dozier said. "We've worked on his shot and we've worked on his passing and rebounding and understanding the game. But that knack for scoring he has, and very few players have it."

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