Anterior cruciate ligament tears can usually take several months to heal, often putting professional athletes on the injured reserve list for a year.

It used to be a career-ending injury.

However, Conway girls senior soccer player Annie Grimes came back seven months after tearing her ACL.

“When she first got injured in August, when I got to her on the field, the first thing she said was, ‘I just want to play. I don’t want to let my teammates down,’” Conway coach Kevin DeStefano said. “She said the same thing to her mom with tears in her eyes.”

Grimes was faced with losing her senior year of high school soccer.

“I didn’t think I was going to get back,” she said. “It was my senior year, and I thought it was over.”

Determined to not end her high school career without playing another game, Grimes began to work.

“I started [physical therapy] a few days after my surgery and have been going three times a week for about seven months,” she said.

DeStefano said he her determination and had to keep Grimes from going over the limit.

“To see her fight so hard and never miss a physical therapy session, was big for us," he said. "We would have a game, and she would be out here running a mile or two miles. I had to call her in one time because thunderstorms were coming.”

In seven months, Grimes was back on the pitch, contributing to her team.

“It meant a lot for her to come back and play,” DeStefano said. “Not only to play, but to provide something to the team that we weren’t sure she would be able to. Coming back from an ACL tear in seven months, we didn’t know how her body would react, but it reacted really well.

“It means a lot to her and it definitely means a lot to the team because it’s an example of what perseverance, dedication and a commitment to yourself and a program can mean. It’s why we gave her tonight, the Whitney Allison award because of that dedication and commitment she shows.”

Grimes has also been playing with Conway’s junior varsity team at times to make sure she sees time.

“It means so much to get back out here,” she said. “My team really helped me get back.”

The Lady Cats sit with a 17-3 record and a 9-3 7A Central record.

Conway will travel Friday to Bryant before heading to Southside May 7 for its final regular season matchup.