Lenape's Green working his way back

Cameron Green is one of two starters back from Lenape's 2013 South Jersey Group 4 finals team.
Cameron Green is one of two starters back from Lenape's 2013 South Jersey Group 4 finals team. (AKIRA SUWA / Staff)
Posted: February 26, 2014

Back in action after missing over two months because of a broken left leg, Cameron Green tossed his red warm-up shirt under Lenape's bench after greeting Camden Catholic's captains and the referees before a Saturday afternoon game.

Green was the only player warming up with his jersey exposed. He wanted to make a statement to let the crowd know he was back, displaying the No. 32 he has only worn four times this year.

While his new pregame ritual makes him appear ready to play, he's still trying to work his way to full strength and help his team turn around its season before he runs out of time.

Green played just over eight minutes off the bench in a 51-37 loss to Camden Catholic, finishing with three points, three rebounds, and two blocked shots.

When he was taken out of the game in the third quarter with his team down 24 points, he looked toward the ceiling as he walked past the bench and eventually behind it, where he grabbed a cup of water, crumpled it like he was squeezing a stress ball, and fired it into a trash can, showing the frustration of a player who was supposed to lead Lenape following its success last season.

Green is one of the two returning starters on a Lenape team that lost last year's South Jersey Group 4 final.

"It's frustrating," Green said. "It's been frustrating for me all year, not just for the team but personally. Just sitting out and watching and knowing that I can't help when I want to, that's the most frustrating thing."

The senior broke a leg at the shin in September at the West Chester Tournament. Green tried to block a shot and had another player fall on him, forcing his weight to the opposite of his planted leg.

He returned on February 15, and since then Lenape has lost three of four games to fall to 9-14.

Green, who is waiting to see how his recovery goes over the next few months before deciding between a four-year college or prep school, is a team guy.

He's a captain who greets all of the starters before the game with an elaborate and unique handshake when they're announced. He never missed a practice while hurt, working on his shot while he couldn't run.

Now he wants to ready himself in order to lead his team on a run in the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs, which 14th-seeded Lenape will open at Millville, the third seed, on March 4.

"I think he realized coming in this year, with our success last year, that this was going to be his team," coach Chuck Guittar said. "It kind of fell apart for him and we haven't had the best of years. I think he thinks that he can go in there and turn it around for us. Be that knight-in-shining-armor type of deal.

"I don't think we're going to see the Cam Green we saw at the end of last year. . . . It's going to take a little time. We still have time before the playoffs and maybe we can make a run. You never know. I'm happy to see him play. Most important, that's it."

Green's warm-up lay untouched in the shadows of the bench until there were 30 seconds left in the game, when he grabbed it and some of his teammates' to accelerate the postgame cleanup. He never wore it again, but he wanted to announce his return another way.

"I still have to make a statement with my game, and that's what I'm trying to do," he said. "When playoffs come, that's when my time will be."


ncarroll@phillynews.com

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