Gemma Potter could only wonder "what next?"
She struggled to find the words to sum up how she felt when she hit the hardwood, her anterior cruciate ligament torn in a routine moment during the national championships in May.
The 19-year-old had already missed an entire WNBL season during an NCAA-standoff which ultimately saw her turn her back on playing college basketball in the United States.
But now one of the brightest young stars in Australian basketball has returned to the Canberra Capitals targeting a return to the court in early 2022.
The Canberra Times revealed last month Capitals coach Paul Goriss had left one of 12 roster slots open for Potter if she could return to full fitness.
Now she has arrived in Canberra as the Capitals close in on their season opener against the Sydney Flames on December 5.
"It's the best feeling in the world. You never really know what you had until it got taken away, and the moment I did it, I knew I'd miss this like crazy," Potter said.
"Even just moving into the apartment with the girls, it was just a sense of relief that I knew I had the people around me that I knew I was missing for the whole six months.
"I knew I had Canberra behind me 100 per cent. Gorrie [Capitals coach Paul Goriss] was one of the first people to message me and I had the support of everyone around me. It was a bit of a 'what's next' feeling at the start.
"As soon as I hit six months I changed my mindset to 'how can I make this work with what I've been given?' The last six months have been an eye-opener.
"Gorrie has been amazing to me. He picked me up and took me under his wing when I was 17. He picked me up and took a chance on me. [I've had] him behind me every step of the way.
"[University of Canberra director of sport Carrie Graf] as well, they have my best interests at heart which really shows, because some people don't do that for you."
Melbourne-based Potter rushed to join her teammates in Canberra as soon as quarantine restrictions for interstate travel were scrapped.
She has resumed training with the team, but the moment there is contact?
"It's hard. I probably don't have a choice, because as soon as there is contact I get the look from Gorrie to get off the court," Potter said.
"Anywhere from nine months, you're cleared to play when you're ready given everything has gone to plan in rehab. I'm working with our physios and our S&C coach up here, trying to play. I'm aiming for nine or 10 months."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: