Double trouble for Potter as she undergoes second ACL surgery

Gemma Potter is looking to former team and house mate Kristy Wallace for inspiration as she embarks on a second ACL surgery in 18 months.

The 20-year-old made her triumphant return to the WNBL with the UC Capitals on Friday night but it was cut devastatingly short when she drove to the basket and fell to the floor injuring her "good" right knee on the eve of quarter time.

As she awaits surgery in Melbourne on Thursday, Potter, touted as a future Opal, is hopeful about her bright future as she looks to replicate Wallace's brilliant comeback.

There are already similarities in their tough tales.

Wallace endured two ACL surgeries in three years before returning via the NBL1 in 2021.

Potter sustained her initial knee injury representing Victoria at the under-20 national championships in Mackay last year and came back to basketball playing for Dandenong in the NBL1 this season.

Wallace would soar in 2022, winning WNBL sixth woman of the year, making her WNBA debut with Atlanta Dream, then winning a bronze-medal with the Opals at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney last month.

"Wally is the definition of inspiration. She's someone I can look up to and know that it is doable to get back and achieve all the goals we set out before the basketball gods cursed us," Potter told ESPN.

"She's an amazing human. I'm lucky to have her in my corner, she messages me, checks in on me.

"She's been there for me, she's been the best and she always knows what to say before I need to hear it.

"Wally and Jenni Screen [former Opal, now coach and commentator] are people in my life who allow me to feel all the emotions [of it]. It's acknowledging how s--- it is, if you try to be too positive with it you play your own mental mind game."

Potter is acutely aware of the gruelling mental aspect of a long-term injury. Cruelly, it's something she felt she'd finally overcome just weeks ago.

"Playing NBL1 was major, mentally. I was talking to my psychologist, the team psychologist, three weeks ago saying I think I've finally reached the point where I don't think about my knee. There was a time period during NBL1 where I'd step off every training and game and be thankful I didn't hurt myself again," she says.

"I'd just got out of that mindset. I thought I'd passed it, it wasn't a thought in my mind anymore. I kind of forgotten I'd even done my knee."

Potter will go under the knife in her home town of Melbourne later this week then spend the next six weeks at home with her family recovering before returning to the nation's capital.

She believes being around the Caps and her team mates will aid her recovery.

"We played Friday night and the girls went to Townsville Saturday morning and the last two days all I've wanted is to see them again and have them [house mates Shaneice Swain and Bec Pizzey] back in the house and their company.

"I normally beg to go back to Melbourne just because I miss my family but I don't want to leave Canberra, I don't think I can last six weeks without the girls.

"The team we have this season is so special. We are all so connected and bonded."

Potter will tap into some of Wallace's perspective as she begins her recovery.

"I got a message from someone the other day saying that everyone's path is different and I'm just taking the bumps early and that's probably what's resonated the most," she explained.

"It probably would with Wally as well. Everyone has different careers and you look at everyone's journeys to the teams we all aspire to be a part of and they are all so different.

"Hopefully the next 12 months is the last bump for me."