Feb. 19, 2014
Bri Guy pauses in her fateful floor exercise routine against Alabama (Anthony Hall photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn gymnast Bri Guy tore both her Achilles tendons in a blink of an eye last Friday, had surgery Wednesday and has made a promise about what she'd be doing at the end of this week when the Tigers face Georgia.
"Oh, I'm going," she said.
Guy, Auburn's most consistent gymnast this season, won't be competing this Friday, of course. She's facing six to nine months of rehabilitation. But she says she'll be there to lift the spirits of her team after last Friday's scary-looking injury when she tore both Achilles on her first pass on the floor exercise, failed to get high enough during that portion of her routine on the floor exercise, and landed hard on her head.
"Yeah, that was awkward," Guy said with a smile.
Smiling through the injury has been part of Guy's game, but that simply the way she is, says coach Jeff Graba.
"She came in Saturday morning for practice and told everybody to quit feeling sorry for themselves," Graba said. "They were just bent out of shape for her. I think she helped put them back in perspective."
"They're in good spirits, which keeps me in better spirits," Guy said.
Auburn turned in its second-highest score in school history with last Friday's 197.100 against Alabama. Now, Auburn will press on without one of its top performers this Friday against Georgia in Auburn Arena, and for the rest of the season. Graba said he'll enlist three other gymnasts to take Guy's place in various events.
Guy said the Achilles injury happened so quickly.
"I didn’t think anything went wrong until I was on the ground. I was like, 'I'm not supposed to be here.'"
The crowd gasp as she landed, head first.
"It looked worse than it actually was," Guy said. "I wasn't worried about my head. I landed on my head a lot in this sport. That didn't really faze me."
But the medical team checked to make sure.
"She was very coherent," Graba said. "She was her normal spunky self."
Guy said she won't be able to put any weight-bearing pressure on her feet for six weeks.
"I'll be wheeling around on a little scooter," she said.
Blowing out both Achilles is unusual, to say the least. But Graba said they usually go in gymnasts on takeoffs, which is what happened to Guy.
"You just go for a ride at that point because you're going at 50 percent power," he said. "It's like a race car driver going into a turn at 200 miles per hour and you blow your right front tire. It's not like you can steer and save yourself and hit the brakes, you just pray and see what happens at the end."
Graba says the assignment is now to press on without one of the team's leaders.
"Our biggest asset is we're so close, so they struggled a little bit with the injury," Graba said. "But Bri has been the positive one."
Auburn can move on with the knowledge it is coming off last week's good showing.
"I think the team is really starting to gel," Graba said. "I don’t think that's an issue with this team. I think they're confident in their abilities. This team will be really good. In a lot of ways, it's good to develop these young people. The only drawback is we've got to make these changes in the heat of battle."
And then, next year, Guy plans to be back.
"All indicators are that she'll be cleared in mid-August to start full speed stuff, and that's when we begin anyway," Graba said. "She should be able to jump in with everybody else."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine