McCannon working his way back |

McCannon working his way back

— Unlike most Steamboat Springs High School students, senior Mitch McCannon has been darting around Gardner Field this spring break, hurling lacrosse balls at unguarded walls and nets, regaining his powerful shot.

The scene is quiet and otherwise unassuming, but for McCannon, it’s a sigh of relief of sorts and certainly a far cry from how the past three months have gone.

On Jan. 20, at Battle Mountain, the Sailors boys basketball team was taking on the Huskies in Edwards. McCannon came down awkwardly on a player’s foot, curling his toes as his right foot lunged forward. The landing broke the second, third and fourth bones in his foot, putting a screeching halt on his senior season on the hardwood.

“I was kind of thinking, ‘Dang, basketball season is over, and I’ll probably never play on a team again,’” McCannon said.

It didn’t take long, though, for McCannon’s thoughts to hit fast-forward to this spring — the boys lacrosse season — where suddenly his favorite sport might hit a stop sign, too.

“The basketball team started rolling again, and I then thought, ‘Shoot, I might not get to play lacrosse, either,'” McCannon said. “People kept on telling me, ‘I don’t know if you’ll get to play lacrosse at all.’”

Hard but humbling

The original prognosis meant McCannon missing the Sailors’ first four lacrosse games in March; then he’d be able to work his way back onto the field.

Twelve games later, McCannon has seen action in just one game — senior night last Thursday — where he got in on a single shift and flashed a bit of what made him an All-State selection in 2014, rocketing in a late goal despite that foot not being 100 percent.

The other 11 games, though, McCannon has been resigned to street clothes, which has proven to be both a burden and a learning tool at the same time, he said.

“It’s been hard, but it’s also been humbling at the same time,” McCannon said. “I’ve learned a lot from standing on the sideline. I understand the concepts more.”

Playoff push

Outsiders still chirp in Mitch McCanon’s ear, even in the days leading up to what he expects to be his first full-speed action of his senior season.

“All those people are saying, ‘don’t push it,’” McCannon said. “I’m planning to play at CU next year, so I’ll have four more years of lacrosse. I can’t push it, but then again, it’s my senior year, and you only get one of those in high school lacrosse.”

He’s been out of a walking boot for about three weeks now and is free of any piercing pain, though foot soreness still settles in daily. In fact, the three bones in McCannon’s right foot are still technically broken, but his orthopedist has given him the green light to finish out what he started four years ago.

The Sailors could use a hand — or a foot — as they make one last 2015 playoff push. Steamboat is teetering around No. 10 or 11 in the Class 4A standings, and a pair of wins to close out the regular season would surely stick the Sailors in the playoffs.

It starts Tuesday at Evergreen, but better yet, a Thursday win at No. 4-ranked Battle Mountain could very well slide Steamboat into the top eight, which would mean an all-important home playoff game.

It would also mean one last playoff run for a lifelong Sailor in McCannon, who has tasted two straight Final Fours, but not a state title game.

“This whole spring break, I’ve had time to rehab and rest it,” McCannon said. “I’m hoping I’ll be ready without confidence issues. I just want to think about the game when I’m in there.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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