Injuries are an unfortunate part of the landscape of sports, both professional and amateur, but it’s not always as straightforward as we, the fan, would like.
When I say that, I’m not talking about the “upper body/lower body” coded messages we’ve become accustomed to hearing from NHL coaches and players – no, I’m talking about a type of injury we won’t see much: the fake injury.
Fresh off serving a 50-game suspension for bringing guns into the locker room last season, Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas was back in the headlines on Tuesday night after his club’s preseason opener.
It had nothing to do with points or rebounds though, and everything to do with the injury that kept him out of action that night. That would be the one he made up so that a teammate could get some game action, incase you’re wondering.
Arenas told coach Flip Saunders earlier that day that his knee was a bit sore and stiff, and that he didn’t think he could play. He would have gotten away with it too, except that he opened his big mouth after the game, telling reporters:
"I told [Nick Young] I'd sacrifice playing tonight so he can get some time in because I know he's kind of frustrated he's not getting a chance to crack the [small forward] position, especially since we're going three guards. So I told him I'll go and fake an injury or say something's wrong with me so you can start.”
Agent Zero was fined an undisclosed amount and apparently the NBA even got involved while the Wizards were reviewing what happened. He blames the media for reporting the story, but he’s the one who said what he said into a microphone!
I can’t be mad at the guy though, because at the end of the day his heart was in the right place here. For his part, Young claims he had no idea that Arenas did that for him, saying “that’s just Gil doing Gil.”
Alright, so we’ve got a story about a guy faking an injury. Now, what about a coach?
There could be fireworks at Old Trafford this weekend after some comments made by embattled star forward Wayne Rooney about his ankle and his manager.
Speaking after England’s 0-0 tie with Montenegro on Tuesday night, Rooney was asked about the injury he’s been battling so far this season and if it caused any trouble for him in the Euro 2012 qualifier he had just participated in. His reply?
“No, I’ve had no ankle problem all season.”
Well, that’s quite interesting, given the fact that Man U manager Alex Ferguson has been talking quite a bit about Roo’s sore ankle. In fact, Soccernet quotes him discussing the injury on three separate occasions. So what is Fergie going on about then, Wayne?
“I don’t know,” Rooney laughed.
What the heck is going on here? It’s been a tough few months for the 24-year-old between a sub par showing at the World Cup, a slow start on the domestic side and, of course, the prostitute scandal that rocked his marriage. If I was him, I’d just blame the injury!
Perhaps Rooney’s days at United are numbered – if you click the link to the Soccernet story I’m referencing here, there’s a sidebar that lists some of the players/people that have had a falling out with Sir Alex…and it doesn’t look good!
Okay, so we’ve now covered fake injuries and injuries that are apparently thought up by a coach, without the player knowing. It’s only natural that we take a look at what’s happening in New Jersey right now:
Both the NHL and the Players Association are looking into what's going on with the Devils as they struggle to field a team thanks, in part, to the fact that if their payroll was water and the salary cap ceiling was an actual ceiling – they likely would have drowned by now.
Here’s what has people talking this week: On Sunday the team dressed just 15 players in a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, which is three short of the 18 they are supposed to have on the bench.
First of all key injuries to Brian Rolston and Anton Volchenkov have the Devils behind the eight ball, but to make matters worse on Sunday, there was also one player serving a one-game suspension. The issue is that they don’t have the cap room to replace these guys right now.
The NHL says it’s keeping a close eye on the situation, while realizing the team is in a pretty tough spot. They are slowing improving though – in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres they dressed 16 skaters! Wooooo!
Unfortunately for the Devils, they’ll be without Rolston for 4-6 weeks...but fortunately for the Devils, placing him on long-term injured reserve will give them about $5-milion of extra cap space!
Problem solved? We’ll see…