MORGAN — The video is fuzzy, but Kaleb Calderwood's memory isn't.
What the video shows is something that happened nine months ago at the Burns Arena in St. George during the 3A boys basketball state tournament.
The Morgan High boys basketball team trailed Manti by a couple baskets early in the fourth quarter of their quarterfinal matchup. Time was starting to run out for a 22-win Trojans team that had rolled unstoppably into the tournament.
Calderwood got into position to get a rebound, jumped and the ball tipped off his hand. He landed and…
“And I just came down awkwardly. Not on anybody’s foot or anything, just came down awkwardly,” he said.
“At first I was like, ‘Maybe it’s just an ankle sprain and all,’ but then I looked down at my foot and it’s at a 90-degree angle, turned sideways inward.”
Officially, it was a subtalar joint dislocation in his left ankle. It called up memories and quick comparisons to what happened four months earlier with Gordon Hayward’s gruesome left foot injury.
But it’s November now. Calderwood has grown two inches and put on 30 pounds entering his senior year of basketball for the Trojans. The only indication something was ever awry is a brace on his left ankle.
Otherwise, he’s back.
“We’re glad to have him back. He’s a great leader, he’s very athletic, he’s going to be great as a basketball player and he’s a good kid, too,” head coach Brad Matthews said.
Entering that game against Manti, the Trojans were 22-2 and appeared to be a favorite to win the state title. Once Calderwood went down, the game that had been teetering simply went off the rails. The top-seeded Trojans lost 63-56 to the third-seeded Templars, who eventually won the championship.
“I couldn’t get it off my mind, it was unreal ... that’s something you don’t see very much. That’s like a Kevin Ware injury, that’s what I was thinking about. All our minds were just racing at that moment,” senior Trey Miles said.
As gruesome as it was, Calderwood says the injury could’ve been worse if not for quick attention from a teammate’s dad. Immediately after falling down, Calderwood’s dad, Mike, came down from the stands and gave him a priesthood blessing.
Then came Jody Carter, whose son Lane was a senior on that team. Carter, a nurse at Primary Children’s Hospital, snapped the ankle back into place right there on the court. After what had been an extremely painful few minutes on the court with the ankle pointing who-knows-where, relief came to Calderwood.
Within 2-3 months, Calderwood was pretty much healed. The injury was primarily a dislocation with minimal fractures that healed without surgery.
But for the post player who was the team’s best rebounder last season, there was a mental hurdle to jump through, too.
“The first couple practices I was iffy on it and just like hesitating a little bit, especially rebounding,” he said.
Once the summer came along, he was on the court again and not just playing casually. He was running, spinning, jumping, rebounding and dunking. Teammates who were there and saw the injury were shocked he was back so early. Matthews told Calderwood to take it easy.
Calderwood said the doctor had cleared him. Calderwood, who said he was around 6-foot-4, 190 pounds at the state tournament, now says he’s 6-6, 220.
This is someone who averaged 6.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game last season with an old-school game molded after not Stephen Curry or James Harden, but more Hakeem Olajuwon sans dream shake and finger wag.
“I’m projecting a good year (for the team), even almost better than last year hopefully," Calderwood said.
Miles, Calderwood and Tyson Hurd were three of last season's top five scorers, so there's reason to believe the Trojans shouldn't drop off very much, if at all, this year.
Morgan rebounded after the Manti game and won its next two to take fifth place at the tournament. It wasn’t where the Trojans wanted to finish, which is part of this year’s motivation.
“It didn’t end anywhere close to where we wanted it to end, but Kaleb came out of it OK, we came out of it with some good experience. That was hard to go through. A state tournament’s hard. You’ve got to be prepared for anything," Matthews said.
Instead of having a video on his phone that shows the ankle dislocation at the state tournament — a video Calderwood's watched only a couple times since then — he'd rather have a video of Morgan cutting down the nets and being the last team standing.