Tecker’s season endsNorthwestern senior will miss basketball season to undergo hip surgery
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
The road back to Madison just became more difficult for the Northwestern High School basketball team.
Senior Steve Tecker announced this week that he will miss the entire season to undergo hip surgery.
“I’m real disappointed,” Tecker said. “I can’t finish out my career in high school.”
Until Monday, Tecker said he wasn’t “100 percent sure” he would miss this season. He had been working out and practicing with the team since the start of November, but he struggled with slowly increasing pain.
“We took the first two weeks here at practice to see how he would respond,” NHS coach Dan Cowley said. “He was OK through practices, but we had a scrimmage on Saturday and he had to play harder and longer.”
After the scrimmage, Tecker’s hips really bothered him, and he also had trouble with a foot he broke during the summer. At that point, Cowley knew his star player was done for the year.
Tecker has a condition know as hip impingement in both legs. It is caused by a bone malformation that prevents the femur from fitting properly into the hip socket. If left untreated, hip impingement can lead to joint pain and premature arthritis.
Two and a half years ago Tecker underwent surgery to correct the problem. He had bone shaved from his hip sockets but didn’t gain increased mobility. Tecker said his hips felt just as tight after the procedure as before.
When the pain returned this year, Tecker consulted a specialist and was told he’d need to have his hips redone.
“This season I could have played,” Tecker said. “I would not have been as productive as last season because I have more pain in my hips than I’ve had in a while.
“Every day after practice I’d go home sore.”
Playing through the pain was a possibility, but Tecker had other considerations as well. The Northwestern senior recently signed a letter of intent to play college basketball with Division I University of South Dakota.
“He opted to have the surgery early now so he’s got more time to recover before he starts playing college ball,” Cowley said.
“I want to get it done and taken care of now so I won’t have to deal with it any more,” Tecker said.
Tecker was an all-state selection as a junior after helping Northwestern advance to the Division 2 state basketball tournament. He has led the Tigers in scoring since he first started as a freshman, averaging 21.1 points per game last year with a 60.5 percent field goal percentage. Tecker has also been first or second in rebounding each of the past three years and led Northwestern in assists and steals last year.
“Obviously we miss a lot with Steve.” Cowley said. “There’s just a lot of things that we’re just going to have to deal with.”
In the 2008-09 season, Tecker became just the third player in Northwestern history to score 1,000 career points. His career total rests at 1,188 total points, and he was expected to set the school’s all-time scoring record this year.
Instead, the Tigers will have to find a way to work through Tecker’s absence.
“We were looking forward to having a great year,” said senior teammate Donnie Hissa. “Steve is one of the top players in the state, so it definitely hurts losing him. But even with him gone I think we’re going to have a great team.”
Tecker is scheduled to have surgery on both hips separately. He’ll have his first procedure Dec. 15 and follow up with a second in January. Tecker believes the surgery is very similar to the one he had before his sophomore season.
Treating Tecker is Chris Larson, an orthopedic surgeon stationed in the Twin Cities. Larson serves as the team physician for the Minnesota Vikings. He is confident Tecker will see noticeable improvement and be able to move again without pain.
“He said he’s not going to guarantee it, but like 95 percent of his patients have seen improvement,” Tecker said. “He said he’s seen a lot of cases just like mine.”