MOORHEAD — Moorhead senior Trey Feeney was reaching for a ball during Spuds boys basketball practice about a month ago when he felt some discomfort after hitting the back of one of his teammate’s legs with his left hand.
Feeney, who signed to play football at the University of North Dakota, didn't think it was anything serious and finished practice.
“I thought I just jammed my pinkie and my ring finger,” said Feeney, who throws left-handed.
The following day, Kevin Feeney, Trey’s dad and the Spuds head football coach, thought the injury was likely more significant. Trey tried to downplay the injury, saying he could still rebound and play defense for the basketball team.
“I saw his hand the next day and it was blown up like a balloon," Kevin said. “I told him, ‘I don’t think that’s a jammed finger.’”
Trey went in for X-rays that revealed a fracture near the base of his hand below his ring finger. That cut short his senior basketball season. He missed Moorhead’s final game of the regular season and its three section tournament games. The injury also put his spring baseball season in question.
“You feel bad,” Kevin said. “That’s not easy for any kid, but especially a kid who has literally played three to four sports his entire life. … Our big concern right away was that it was his throwing hand.”
Less than a week after the injury, Trey had an appointment with a hand specialist. Surgery was not recommended for the fracture. Kevin said Trey also consulted with the medical staff at UND.
“That was a huge relief,” Trey said of surgery not being needed. “If something like this was going to happen, it almost happened at the perfect time.”
Trey played most of the Spuds basketball season and will also have a chance to return to the baseball diamond for Moorhead by the end of the spring season. He’s scheduled to get his cast removed in less than a week in exchange for a splint (for another two to four weeks) and should be able to start throwing eight weeks after the initial injury, which happened on March 12.
“Especially after COVID, it’s like you never take anything for granted,” Trey said. “I didn’t do that during football or basketball this year. … I’m still hoping that I can play some baseball this year towards the end of the year. It will be fun to do that one more time.”
The injury hasn’t kept Trey, who is 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, away from competition in the meantime. He’s on the track and field team until he can start throwing again and return to baseball. Trey said he took about a week break after the injury.
“I can’t just sit around too long,” said Trey, who expects to compete in sprints for track. “There’s nothing I can do at baseball so I might as well do something to get better so I’m going to get a little faster until I can throw.”
Trey said his recovery timeline will also give him a month or so to start throwing the football again before he heads to Grand Forks to prepare for his college career with the Fighting Hawks.
“When rehab starts, then it will seem like it will be moving a lot faster,” Trey said. “In no time, I will be throwing again.”
Trey plans to make multiple trips to UND in June for throwing and arm workouts before moving to Grand Forks to start training full time in early July.
“Come June, it’s full-fledged football from here on out for the next four our five years,” Kevin said.
Feeney completed 138 of 203 passes (68%) for 1,973 yards with 36 touchdowns and one interception during his senior football season, leading the Spuds to a 7-0 record last fall. Moorhead was voted as the Minnesota Class 5A champions in the final Associated Press poll. Trey is excited for the summer when he will get his first opportunity to start training with the entire 2021 UND recruiting class.
“It will be fun to meet them and work out with them,” Trey said.