Cindy Blodgett has been playing organized basketball since she was in the second grade at Clinton Elementary School. That was in 1983.
In the 14 winters since, Blodgett has rewritten the record books while becoming the best-known player and most prolific scorer in Maine history without ever missing a game. Not even one.
Blodgett’s streak of consecutive games, which includes 101 contests at the University of Maine and at least 88 at Lawrence High School in Fairfield, likely will end Thursday.
Maine coach Joanne Palombo-McCallie said Tuesday the Black Bears’ star guard is not expected to play when 7-2 Maine visits 7-4 Towson University in an America East game at Towson, Md.
“Cindy’s doing better. It’s still a day-to-day progress report, but we know she will not play Thursday,” Palombo said after the Bears’ Tuesday morning practice at Memorial Gym in Orono.
Blodgett has not practiced since she aggravated a pre-existing injury to her left foot during Friday night’s game against Boston University at Alfond Arena in Orono. The senior has been suffering from plantar fasciitis since September.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammation of the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects the heel to the base of the toes.
Blodgett, who this week is the nation’s No. 2 scorer at 27.9 points per game, could not be reached for comment Tuesday prior to the team’s departure for Maryland. Palombo said caution and patience are the keys.
“To Cindy’s credit, she has handled it very maturely,” Palombo said. “The long term is the most important. She hasn’t practiced. We’re bringing her back at the appropriate pace.”
Thayer Blodgett said sitting out has been hard on his daughter, whose passion to play has in the past enabled her to overcome mild injuries and bouts with the flu. Once, Blodgett even was given intravenous fluids prior to an Eastern Maine tournament game to help her remain strong.
“She doesn’t like to stop, that’s what it basically comes down to,” Thayer Blodgett said. “I’m sure she’s had a sprain here or there or a jammed finger but, to my recollection, if she misses Thursday night this will be the first game she’s missed in her basketball career.”
Blodgett was forced to take a hiatus from basketball during the summer of 1991 after she broke both wrists after trying to dunk off a friend’s shoulders. Still, she was ready to go once the season began.
The elder Blodgett explained Cindy has been wearing a cast on her left foot at night. The device is designed to immobilize her foot during sleep. She also is using a crutch to keep weight off the foot.
“I think maybe we got fortunate because maybe it relieved itself,” said Thayer Blodgett, referring to the “snap” Cindy experienced that forced her to leave Friday’s game. “The big thing is let it rest long enough to heal.”
Palombo said it is possible Blodgett could be cleared to play in Saturday’s game at Delaware, but it depends upon her progress in the next three days.
While Blodgett’s long-term health and her ability to perform at or near full strength during postseason are the primary concerns, the injury may derail her bid to become the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer in Division I.
Through nine games this season, Blodgett has scored 2,552 career points. The Division I mark of 3,122 points was set by Patricia Hoskins of Mississippi Valley State from 1985-89.
If Blodgett does not play Thursday and the Bears go on to play at least 30 games this season, she would need to average 28.6 points in Maine’s last 20 contests. Her current average is 27.9 points.
If Blodgett is unable to play again Saturday, she would need to score 30.1 points per game over the next 18 games to reach 3,123.