December 17, 2013

Carroll Aims to Return — Again — for Redshirt Senior Season

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive

Casey Carroll, who last played for Duke in 2007, is aiming to return to the Blue Devils once again to use a final year of NCAA athletic eligibilty.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

Casey Carroll is giving a comeback another try at Duke.

Carroll, who served five years as an Army Ranger after last playing for the Blue Devils men's lacrosse team in 2007, has been cleared by the NCAA to return to the field this spring, Duke coach John Danowski said Tuesday.

Carroll, who would play the 2014 season at 29 years old, is pursuing a master's degree at Duke's Fuqua School of Business. He attempted to use a fifth year of athletic eligibility last year but tore the ACL in his left knee in a non-contact drill last January. He applied for the same NCAA exemption this year that he was granted ahead of last season, which allows those with time spent in the armed services to play beyond the traditional five-year calendar for student-athletes.

And that's only part of the hurdle Carroll has faced to step back on the field. Carroll's rehab, which typically requires at least six months for a torn ACL, has been slowed by the fact that he worked a time-intensive internship this summer in Charlotte, N.C. His wife also gave birth to their second child this fall.

"He's still coming off knee surgery and he had an internship over the summer, so he didn't get to rehab as much. In the fall, we were very ginger with him in terms of practice time and just watching him," Danowski said. "He's doing better. He's playing racquetball and basketball. He's getting some confidence back with his knee and the rehab under our trainer and physical therapist. We'll keep our fingers crossed for him."

Danowski said he'd like to have Carroll in the starting lineup for the defending national champs this spring if he earns the job. The defense returns starting long-stick midfielder Luke Duprey and close defensemen Chris Hipps and Henry Lobb. Several players, including Carroll, freshmen Brian Dunne and Ian Yanulis and sophomore Jamie Ikeda, are in the running for the third close defense spot.

Carroll was a first-team All-American as a Blue Devils defenseman in 2007 before serving four deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment of the United States Army. The combination of a season-ending knee injury in Duke's scandal-shortened 2006 campaign and his military service allowed him a chance to play again last year.

"It's amazing," Danowski said earlier this fall. "He's jumped out of helicopters. He's on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan and he hurts his knee in a non-contact injury."

Carroll will try for a "fifth year," redshirt senior season again.

"If you're rooting for anyone, we're certainly rooting for him," Danowski said Tuesday. "But he knows, and he wouldn't have it any other way, he's got to earn that right to be there. Somebody will emerge from that group."

Carroll was drafted No. 18 overall by the Hamilton Nationals in last January's Major League Lacrosse draft and his rights were later traded to the Charlotte Hounds. He's currently on the Hounds' collegiate inactive list.


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