VALRICO — Bloomingdale basketball star Callum Townsend will miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, the same injury Townsend suffered last spring.
"It's just crushing," Bloomingdale coach Josh Chapin said. "He worked so hard to get back to the same, if not higher, level than he was before. It really took the wind out of me."
Townsend, whom the Brandon & South Shore Times profiled on Jan. 9, made a speedy recovery after tearing his knee at a college showcase in March following a junior year in which he led Hillsborough County in scoring with 27 points per game. Townsend, a senior, hurt his knee again Jan. 7.
"Anyone who knows (Townsend) knows how hard he has worked, so it's tough," Chapin said. "He's not only one of the best basketball players I've been around, but one of the best kids, too."
Townsend landed awkwardly after going up for an offensive rebound late in the first half Jan. 7 against King. He went to the locker room and, although the extent of the injury wasn't known at the time, Chapin feared the worst.
"Callum is just such a tough kid, so you could tell by the look of pain on his face that something was seriously wrong," Chapin said.
Tests last Friday revealed the ligament damage, and Chapin said he expects Townsend, who was again leading the county in scoring at 24 points per game, will undergo surgery in the next two weeks. Chapin said it's too early to tell how the injury will affect Townsend's future. Boston University, Jacksonville University and Stetson University had all expressed interest in the 6-foot-6 swingman.
"We'll just have to see how the surgery goes and as for his future, we'll just have to cross that bridge when we get there," Chapin said.
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Flag football: The National Football League may be winding down its season, but a subsidiary of the organization is just preparing for kickoff.
The Tampa Bay Flag Football Association, sponsored by the NFL, will hold its final registration Thursday at Evans Park in Seffner. The group, in its sixth season, also will hold a meet-and-greet for players and parents that day.
"We attract the kids who don't play baseball or soccer," league director Larry Langston said. "And it's for the football players who want to stay with the game."
The league is for kids ages 5 to 17 and has five age divisions. The games consist of five-on-five play in an eight-week season. Each team carries eight to 10 players on the roster.
"We have a good rotation, so each kid gets to play quite a bit," Langston said. "Some other sports have bigger rosters, and certain kids just get in for the minimum number of innings or plays. We make sure that's not the case with us."
Langston said he expects about 280 kids to play this season, with games taking place at William Owens Pass Park, the Turkey Creek Complex and Evans Park. The squads are named after NFL teams, and players receive reversible replica mesh jerseys. All players also get trophies after the season, and there will be a season-ending family fun day that Langston said may feature some Tampa Bay Buccaneers.