Even Hobbled, Kardos A Key
Posted: December 28, 2012
HARRISONBURG — Seth Kardos said he first dunked when he was a freshman. To anybody who saw him play basketball in previous seasons at Harrisonburg High School, that’s no surprise – Kardos’ lofty jumping ability has always been his most eye-catching attribute.
As a senior this season, though, the 6-foot, 170-pound Kardos isn’t slamming the ball down anymore.
“That would be great,” Kardos said of dunking. “But I don’t see that happening any time soon.”
In fact, Kardos’ father Gary, a physical therapist at Rockingham Memorial Hospital, even said he’s “discouraged” Seth from trying to dunk.
Victim of a broken ankle suffered during a playoff soccer game last spring, Kardos is limited athletically after undergoing surgery on his right foot in October. But he’s finding new, lower-profile ways of doing what he’s always done: score.
Kardos has averaged 15.5 points per game for the 2-6 Blue Streaks, despite operating at what both he and coach Scott Joyner estimated is 70 percent health.
“He’s going to the hole a lot more,” Joyner said of Kardos’ adjustments. “His outside shot has been struggling, because it starts from the feet up. But he’s getting to the basket at a very high percentage.
“He can finish with both hands around the basket. A lot of players can finish from the strong side; Seth can finish both ways.”
After sustaining what he thought to be a mere sprained ankle last spring, Kardos – who admits “I’m not as much of a ball-is-life, basketball junkie as some people are” – wasn’t sure if he wanted to play basketball on a bum wheel this year. He ultimately decided to lace up his kicks again because he’s a senior and might never play competitively again. But the ankle wasn’t getting healthier.
Turns out Kardos had a torn ligament that required surgery. Just a month before the season, he had that surgery. Kardos’ father worried he might be rushing back too quickly, but Seth was back on the court for HHS’s first game this year, despite barely participating in any basketball-related activities in quite some time.
“For five months, Seth did not run or jump,” Gary Kardos said. “Even though we tried some conditioning, he still wasn’t ready for the way he plays the game.”
Even after the surgery, Kardos’ right ankle still makes a snapping sound that Gary attributes to Seth’s retinaculum – connective tissue at the top of foot – being stretched out. Kardos has also developed tendonitis in his healthier left foot.
While the explosiveness isn’t back yet, Kardos is doing a little of everything for the Streaks, Joyner said.
“If it’s a steal, a big rebound, wanting the ball in his hands, just taking the big shot. … He’s a competitive kid,” Joyner said. “He does not like to lose. He’s got that quality about him.”
It might be Kardos’ competitive spirit that willed him to play this season. That attitude also makes it challenging for him to accept the fact that he isn’t fully healthy.
“It’s been kind of hard,” Kardos said. “It’s not been as fun as it has in the past. Because when you’re 100 percent, you can really focus on doing everything you can. When you’re injured you’re limited and not able to reach your full potential, which is frustrating.”
If only everybody could perform so well under frustration.
After scoring five points in limited minutes during the season opener at Charlottesville, Kardos, who converted from a guard to an undersized power forward this year, scored a season-best 25 the next game and hasn’t dipped below 11 this year.
Kardos’ father said Seth likely won’t be back at 100 percent any time this season. After basketball is done, Kardos will need to reassess if he’s healthy enough to participate in soccer.
Meantime, he is still rehabbing his foot with consistent icing, pool workouts, and deep massages.
Kardos said that winter break has been somewhat of a blessing for him. Finally, he’s had a chance to rest. Harrisonburg, which has been off since Dec. 17, plays at Handley today at 7 p.m.
Maybe after some down time, his hops will soon regenerate. If not, Kardos knows how to get by.
“Basically, every time I try to jump, I can’t jump as high as I want to, because I’m limited,” Kardos said. “It gets painful when I try to jump as high as I can.
“… I try to be more slick getting my shot off.”