Five months ago, all Cam Shorey could do was provide moral support while his teammates pursued a state basketball championship.
Now the 6-foot-4½-inch center-forward from Calais High School is making up for lost time.
Shorey, sidelined for his entire sophomore season of basketball due to an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his left knee suffered at the end of football season, has taken to his doctor’s recent permission to resume pursuing his sporting passion to the fullest this summer with the intensity of a February tournament run.
“I’ve played 24 games in the last 10 days,” he said Thursday.
That includes playing with his high school team in summer leagues at both Calais and Bangor as well as playing on state championship AAU basketball teams at two age levels, the MBR 16-and-under and MBR 17-and-under squads. Both MBR teams will play in national tournaments at Orlando, Fla., later this month.
“It’s been going pretty well,” said Shorey, who wears a light brace on his knee.
Shorey, who plays some guard at the AAU level but in the frontcourt for his high school team, figures to be one of the state’s top juniors next winter when Calais attempts to win its fourth Class C state title in the last five years.
He also figured to be a key contributor last season on a team led by his older brother Cal and Jordan Leeman, son of Calais coach Ed Leeman.
But that all changed during Calais-Woodland’s LTC football quarterfinal against Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln.
Shorey, a running back for the Silverados, jumped over a block during a fourth-quarter rushing attempt, and as he landed back on the ground he was hit in the thigh, tearing his planted left knee.
Suddenly hopes for a successful basketball season were replaced by surgery, followed by months of team support amid individual rehabilitation.
“It was very tough, actually,” said Shorey. “I tried to do all I could to support the team, but I missed not being out there.”
Shorey went to all the Calais practices, which often led to weight-lifting sessions with his father, Kevin.
Those efforts helped Shorey add 20 pounds of muscle in anticipation of an eventual return to competition.
“My dad did a lot of lifting when he was in college, so it was great to kind of have a lifting coach,” said Shorey.
A month after surgery on Dec. 10, Shorey began dribbling and shooting again — while his teammates were beginning another late-season run toward basketball gold.
And after roaring through the Eastern Maine tournament, Calais brought the state title back home by stunning heavily favored Dirigo of Dixfield 40-39.
Older brother Cal played the pivotal role, scoring 16 points — including the game-winning 3-pointer with 17 seconds left — while limiting Notre Dame bound Dirigo star Thomas Knight, a 6-9 center, to 8-of-24 shooting.
“It was definitely great that we won,” said Cam Shorey, who watched that game from the stands, as he had done throughout the season.
“I definitely would have liked to be in the game and be a contributor, but I was happy for my brother and just proud and excited for what the guys were able to do.”
Five months later, Shorey is gearing up for what he hopes is his chance to lead Calais back to championship territory.
“I know the community has been really helpful and really supportive of me with my rehabilitation,” he said. “I just want to show them that I can still play basketball, and that we can do it again.”