Near the end of Tuesday night's Memorial Sea-Hawks women's basketball team practice, Mellissa Prunty jammed her hand hard against a basketball.
The initial pain was so severe it elicited tears from the lanky forward as she knelt on the sidelines. She recovered after several minutes and rejoined her teammates.
After practice, Prunty, holding an ice bag to her hand, brushed off the injury and seemed embarrassed to even talk about it.
"I just jammed it a little. It's fine," said the soft-spoken fifth-year player from Longford, Ireland.
It's been a tough year physically for Prunty, who is graduating with a kinesiology degree.
"I've had on-going weak ankles for the past couple of years, so I tape them every day before I play," said Prunty, who had trouble keeping up with her other teammates in a floor sprint.
"My feet get blisters and I tape them, too. Last April, I had some disc problems in my back and it got a little bit worse over the summer.
"I was kind of horizontal for the summer … so to speak," she added.
Prunty, who didn't start the season with the Lady Hawks, said she went through "a lot of physio" and was able to play after the Christmas break.
She said the pain is always there.
"I'm conscious of it."
Prunty sees her role this weekend will be what it has been since Christmas, "just going in for Maegan Seaward, getting some rebounds."
Top-seeded MUN has a bye to Saturday's AUS semifinals at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S.
Prunty said she'd love to win another AUS title and get a crack at the CIS championship tournament again.
"One step at a time, but definitely that would be nice," she noted.
Despite the physical setbacks and not a lot of playing time over the past two seasons, Prunty said she was "ecstatic" to be in St. John's and attending MUN.
"I really love it," she said.
She even admitted she enjoyed playing for coach Doug Partridge, who can be a bit gruff and sarcastic at times, but is Mother Teresa compared to someone like rugby coach Pat Parfrey.
"You'd be surprised. You'd be surprised. I've enjoyed Doug," Prunty said, and she seemed sincere.
For his part, Partridge said Prunty is a "wonderful person and player" for MUN.
"She did everything we asked her to do. If her body had been healthier … " said Partridge, his voice tailing off. "In her first two years, she averaged 12 points and seven boards at Christmas, but her body just couldn't hold up to the battering.
"If she had come to us fresh out of high school and played here," added Partridge, "I really think she would have been one of the best players who ever played for us."
At the end of the one-and-a-half hour workout, assistant coach George Mammen tossed five small packets of candies to the players he figured had had the best practice.
"Ah, it's part of my job," Mammen said with a smile.
Then Partridge, who had stopped a few half-court scrimmages to chew out his players, called the team together and told them he was pleased with the overall effort on the evening.
He mentioned a change in practices for the weekend in Nova Scotia and then they all put their hands together and gave a Sea-Hawk cheer before dispersing.