Missing game Shane's pain
YOUNG Ipswich player Shane Coupland has hit a rich vein of form recently, single-handedly destroying opposition defences and guiding his team towards a championship. Unfortunately for Coupland, his recent success has been restricted to the virtual world. "I've been killing it on (Playstation basketball game) NBA 2K7," 17-year-old Coupland said. The former Ipswich junior had hoped 2007 would be his breakthrough year with the Force, after playing his way into the senior men's side at the end of the 2006 season. But a sickening knee injury in the Force's first pre-season trial ? a March 31 hit-out with South West ? ended the talented teen's court aspirations for the rest of the year. "I stepped out to help on 'D' (defence), got bumped and landed awkwardly," Coupland said. "There was bit of a scream." The Force swingman's cries of anguish were the result of a dislocated knee and ruptured cruciate ligament. A surgeon inserted pins through Coupland's knee joint, with the young guard/forward required to wear a knee brace to restrict movement. The injury initially left Coupland despondent at his inability to play the game he loves. "I was devastated," he said. "After working so hard in the off? season and forcing my way into the team. "I really wanted to be part of the squad. "It really didn't hit me until the first training session, when I couldn't take part." Coupland, whose father Neil is assistant coach of the Ipswich senior men's side, said following the Force play still evoked mixed emotions. "It's pretty tough watching what's going on on the court," he said. "It just makes me want to be out there." The wounded youngster, who last year captained St Edmund's to an AIC premiership and played in the school's 1sts side since year 10, plans to return to the court an improved player in 2008. "I'm going to hit the weights and come back a lot stronger," Coupland said. Force coach Danny Breen said Coupland ? known around the club for his changing hairstyles and flamboyant ear-ring ? would have been a major part of the Force's QABL campaign this year. "If things had progressed the way they were going he certainly would have stepped up in the rotation," Breen said. "He's 6'5" and can shoot the perimeter shot. "Without a doubt, he has all the attributes to play at this level." The seasoned coach said he was surprised at the severity of Coupland's injury. "The way he screamed, you would have thought someone had shot him," Breen said. Coupland, whose basketball idol is Miami Heat superstar Dwayne Wade, said he aspired to eventually play overseas. "I'd like to play college ball in the US," he said. "It would be good to play in other countries and see a different lifestyle."