19-year old Canadian opposite Sharone Vernon-Evans has returned to training with the Canadian National Team after undergoing surgery on his left leg.
During a match in Poland’s PlusLiga with Onico Warszawa in March in what was his first professional season, Vernon-Evans was diagnosed with a left leg injury. Later testing showed that he had suffered a stress fracture to his tibia. At the time, the team doctor said that the recovery time would be 4-6 months. His return puts him on the very short edge of that time frame, after March 23rd surgery.
In an interview this week with the CBC, Vernon-Evans said that he felt “helpless” and overworked, resulting in the injury.
“When I got to Poland [earlier this year] there wasn’t much rest time and I overworked the shin,” says Vernon-Evans.”I don’t have many regrets, other than I should have been more in tune with my body. I wouldn’t have wanted to stop playing in the Final Six, but I should have identified [the injury] before getting to the point of having to stop playing. I need to be up front about any pain, no matter how severe it is.”
Vernon-Evans first made international headlines in 2017 when, even as an 18-year old, he marked one of the highest spike heights ever recorded, touching at at 384cm (12’9″), which is 1.3 meters (4’7″) above the height of the net.
While his first summer with Canada’s National Team in 2017 had personal ups-and-downs, he became a crucial dynamic presence for their offense that led them to a historic bronze medal at the World League. Without him in this year’s Nations League, Canada finished 7th with an 8-7 record and missed out on the Final 6.
It turns out, that during a stop of last year’s World League, in Belgium, he had an X-ray taken on the shin which showed a pre-stress fracture, indicated by a weakening of the bone. He switched shoes, which relieved the pain temporarily, until it returned in February.
He’s now expected to return in time to play at this summer’s World Championships, which for Canada begin on September 12th in Ruse, Bulgaria. Canada will open that tournament against the Netherlands and continue to play Egypt, China, Brazil, and France in the preliminary rounds. The top 4 advance to the next round of competition.
He is still uncertain for the three-day Hubert Jerzy Wagner Memorial in Poland in August – a major warmup tournament for the World Championships, saying that Worlds are his focus.
The silver lining is that Vernon-Evans says that the lighter workouts during his rehab revealed his unhealthy eating habits, because of a noticeable change in his appearance. He now says he’s making nutrition a top priority.
In his first professional season, Vernon-Evans scored 72 points in 17 matches played.