Darian Webb lifted his left wrist and asked his teammates to pull it out on Tuesday night.
The Poplar Bluff eldest had just gotten a steal at the other end of Senior High Gym and was going for a lay-up like he had done many times before. This time, however, Webb landed on that left wrist.
“I broke it in three different places,” Webb said Friday, his wrist in a soft cast.
“It was just a little awkward because I always fall, but I knew something had happened as soon as I hit the ground.”
The Mules battled rival Jackson once again in another close game that featured four lead changes and four draws in the first quarter. Webb had scored seven of Poplar Bluff’s first 12 points.
The noisy gym quickly died down as Webb sat on the court clutching his wrist.
“I was just like ‘I’m fine, I’m fine. Just save it so I can play,'” said Webb, who added that when the adrenaline wore off, the pain set in.
The Mules were down a point when Webb left but quickly fell behind as Jackson finished the half on a 14-3 run to lead 41-28.
Waiting in the hospital, Webb could see his teammates come back in the second half. Poplar Bluff forced overtime and took the lead with 12 seconds left, but lost 79-78 on a last-second 3-pointer.
“At the time, I knew I was done, but I was excited to see my team,” Webb said. “I’m happy to still be with my team, to be able to be right there, to still be part of the team.
“I love these guys.”
Webb was Poplar Bluff’s leading scorer this season, averaging 15.3 points per game while scoring 20 or more points on three occasions. The point guard is part of the team leaders for assists and steals, but perhaps more importantly, a team leader.
“Everything he does statistically is great, but his leadership this year will be hard to replace,” Mules coach William Durden said.
The team was already missing junior forward Jeridon Young who has missed the last five games with a leg injury.
This time last year, Young’s season ended with a knee injury, but that latest setback is with his other leg.
Young scored a season-high eight points in the Poplar Bluff Showdown opener on Dec. 27. But the junior left the game in the dying seconds of the second quarter.
“Same kind of situation,” Durden said. “Right now he’s comfortable playing well and his comfort level is there and he’s getting in shape, boom.
“We try to figure things out.”
Junior forward Jack Scott played for the first time this season following an injury on Tuesday night. Rivers scored a career-high 32 points while Nic Brumitt scored a season-high 12.
Webb was the leading returning scorer on a team that reached the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2005. As a junior, he averaged 7.6 points, 4.1 assists and 3 .0 rebounds per game.
In August, Webb’s father, Mareece, died at age 46. The elder Webb was a member of Poplar Bluff’s first men’s basketball team to reach a state final and served as an assistant coach when the Mules won their two state championships.
Like his father, Webb has done a bit of everything on the court.
On Tuesday night before crashing to the floor, Webb assisted the Mules’ previous field goal – a 3-pointer by Gage Rivers – before an angled pass landed in his lap. Going down the field, Webb threw a no-look pass to Rivers which quickly returned it to Webb. He missed the shot by turning away from a defender and landing him on his left side.
Webb, who is seven points shy of 500 for his career, is now like his father and older sisters Soley and Marissa coaching from the sidelines.
“I know everything happens for a reason,” Webb said. “At first, I was upset. I know I’m done for the year, but I know my team has my back. I’ve known what they’ve been able to do for a while. I know.
“I know everything happens for a reason. I trust God.
The Mules play in Portageville on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Libla Family Sports Complex before returning to Kennett on Tuesday. Poplar Bluff hosts Cape Central for homecoming Friday.
“We’re going to have to bring in some young guys and try to fill some rooms,” Durden said. “It will be a disparate deal that we did not expect.”
Webb called it “another roadblock” and said the coaching staff always talks about reacting to adversity.
“It’s always how you react and we react well,” Webb said. “They reacted well”