RUMSON - Rumson-Fair Haven junior two-sport star Elijah McAllister learned Friday that he tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee, McAllister confirmed Saturday.

This is the second ACL tear McAllister has sustained in the past 10 months. He tore the ACL in his other knee in April and had only recently returned to action following rehabilitation. He will seek a second opinion this week.

"I wasn't too devastated or too mad - just ready to have surgery go to work again," McAllister said. "My coach always says, 'Don't ask God to give you a lighter load. Ask him to give you a stronger back.'"

McAllister went down late in the second quarter of the Rumson boys basketball team’s win at Holmdel on Thursday and had to be helped off the floor. He spent the majority of the remainder of the game with an ice pack on his knee and was up and moving around during the second half. He did not return to the game on Thursday.

Elijah McAllister is helped off the floor by coach Chris Champeau and Teddy Sourlis (10). (Photo by Matt Manley)
Elijah McAllister is helped off the floor by coach Chris Champeau and Teddy Sourlis (10). (Photo by Matt Manley)

The 6-7 junior is nine months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee and in just his fourth game back in action, he injured his other knee. He sustained his first ACL tear while playing for his AAU basketball team, Team Rio.

Prior to the injury, McAllister had already collected 11 scholarship offers to play football, including seven from Power Five programs, as a prospect at tight end or defensive end. McAllister said powerhouse programs Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama and Texas had also shown interest.

"If I could do it again and you told me I might tear my ACL four games in, I'd do it again," McAllister said "It would be selfish of me to be available to play and still sit down and watch my teammates play when I know I can help them."

McAllister missed the entire football season and played in a week's worth of games during this basketball season. Since returning to action on Jan. 27, McAllister averaged 8.25 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.75 blocks in limited minutes. He played the entire first quarter on Thursday and in 12 minutes of action posted eight points, six rebounds and three blocks in a 70-49 win over the Hornets.

Rumson has been successful this season with and without its shot-blocking force in the paint. Before McAllister returned, the Bulldogs were 12-1 with their only loss coming against Roselle Catholic, the No. 3 team in N.J., according to Rumson led the third-ranked Lions for nearly the entire game before Roselle Catholic took the lead with four minutes left and held on to win, 49-46.

"I told (the players) last night, 'This is the best season Rumson basketball has ever had in the history of the school,'" McAllister said. "This can't be a lost season just because I tore my ACL."

With McAllister in the lineup, the Bulldogs recorded wins over Raritan, Red Bank Catholic, Red Bank Regional and Holmdel. McAllister approached a triple-double against RBC (11 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks) on Jan. 28 while playing a little more the half the game and converted the go-ahead three-point play in the final 30 seconds of the Bulldogs' 60-58 win over Red Bank on Monday.

As a sophomore last season, McAllister led the Shore Conference with 5.6 blocks per game. He also came off the bench as a freshman in 2014-15, when the Bulldogs won the program’s first and only Shore Conference Tournament championship.

"I'd do anything for my teammates and my school," McAllister said. "College is in a few years, so I'm not worried about. People always tell me you never get high school back, so I just wanted to live it as much as I can. It just so happened that I had to have two ACL surgeries. It is what it is."

More From Shore Sports Network