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CU Buffs’ Maura Singer to medically retire

Sophomore has dealt with knee injuries last couple seasons

Dec. 3, 2021- University of Colorado ...
University of Colorado Boulder’s Maura Singer looks to make a move against Dixie State on December 3, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Colorado’s Maura Singer was working on her ball screen coverage defense at practice on Dec. 5 when she felt a pop in her knee.

“I knew the feeling,” Singer said.

Although it’s unclear the full extent of Singer’s latest injury, the impact of it is known. The sophomore center from Columbine High School will medically retire and spend the rest of this season helping the Buffaloes (9-0) from the sidelines.

“This past week has been one very hard emotional roller coaster for me,” Singer said.

The roller coaster has taken Singer all over the place emotionally for several years.

Singer averaged 9.5 points and 10.1 rebounds as a junior at Columbine, earning first-team All-State honors. Three ACL tears and other setbacks caused her to miss the next three seasons, including her first two at CU.

CU’s exhibition against Colorado Mines on Nov. 2 was her first game in more than three-and-a-half years. She then played in seven of the Buffs’ first eight games of the regular season. She scored four points and pulled down nine rebounds in 23 total minutes.

“I’ve worked really hard my entire life to get to this point. I was so happy at the beginning of the season, still was so happy throughout the season, and then to have it happen all over again, it was really hard,” Singer said. “It was rough.”

Singer said doctors are unable to accurately determine the nature of the latest injury through an MRI because of the previous injuries, but she believes it could be her fourth ACL tear.

“I felt the pop instantly,” she said. “It felt very similar to my previous injuries.”

Singer, 20, and the doctors had her long-term future in mind last week.

“They said, ‘We advise you not to play college basketball again,’” Singer said. “Being able to walk, ski, play soccer and basketball with my kids later on in my future, that’s still an important thing in my eyes.”

Up to this point, Singer had basketball as a top priority. This season she was playing with “a completely gone MCL and no cartilage and just a whole bunch of scar tissue,” she said.

Had all of that been repaired in the past, Singer said her retirement would have come sooner. She kept going because of her dream to play college basketball, but added, “I was confident in my knee and I was confident in what my surgeon had done.”

All along, Singer didn’t know if she’d get to play in even one game, let alone the eight she got. While devastated, she’s focused on the accomplishment of being a Division I athlete.

“My mind felt like my body was great and my body could do it, and my body just didn’t align with what my mind and my heart had wanted,” she said. “You never know what’s going to happen to you. So I’m just grateful that I was given the opportunity to even play the little amount of games that I could.”

CU head coach JR Payne said Singer has been an inspiration to the program.

“She’s battled for years and years and years with many, many knee surgeries,” Payne said. “She has tackled and overcome more adversity than a lot of people and done it with a smile, done it with a selfless mindset, done it with a cheerful spirit. She’s just been really, really awesome.

“I’m devastated for her that she wasn’t able to play very long. But … her desire to overcome and do it with a positive spirit, that’s something that we will talk about for many, many years to come to recruits and people that come through these doors.”

As she deals with the latest setback, Singer is grateful for a strong support system. One of her best friends is current CU player Aubrey Knight, who is medically retired after multiple shoulder injuries. And, she doesn’t have to look far for morale support with knee injuries.

Singer is the youngest of four children and remarkably all four have had at least two ACL tears. Her bother suffered his second ACL tear just a month ago. She has a sister who medically retired from volleyball because of knee injuries.

“I always say, ‘I love you mom, love you dad, but your genetics stink,’” Singer said with a laugh.

As she now looks forward, Singer said she’ll attack recovery as she has in the past, but knowing a different goal is in mind.

“For a really long time, my life has revolved around basketball,” she said. “So I’ll try to think of other things that give me happiness and find new things that I’ve never even tried.”