The last play Stephen Banick made ended with the freshman attackman writhing on the turf at Sea Gull Stadium in the fourth quarter of Stevenson’s eventual 7-2 loss to Salisbury in an NCAA tournament semifinal on May 20.
Banick, who led the Mustangs in goals (36) and points (63), crumpled to the turf with 12:31 left in regulation after planting his left leg behind the cage and had to be carried off the field with the lower portion of that leg immobilized in a cast.
As traumatic as that scene was, coach Paul Cantabene said Banick could return to the field as early as this fall.
“Broken leg,” Cantabene said of Banick’s injury. “He had a plate and four screws put in, and he’s recovering now, and he should be good by October.”
Banick’s return could fortify an attack that also brings back a pair of starters in sophomore Chris Dashiell (22 goals and 27 assists) and junior Tyler Reid (33 G, 14 A) and anchor an offense that graduated two starting midfielders in Justin Lea (29 G, 4 A) and Nick Rossi (20 G, 9 A). But Cantabene said the team will take great pains to avoid rushing Banick back into action.
“We’ll be safe with that,” Cantabene said. “The fall is the fall. The only good thing that comes out of fall ball is that nobody gets hurt because you don’t win anything. So we’ll be very cautious with him and see how his leg comes about. He had such a great year, and if he can play, he’ll play. If not, our doctors and trainers will get him healthy and ready to go for the season in 2013.”