Category Archives: Injury

Bolden Injured In Nittany Lions Win

 

An unexpected quarterback change could be just what the doctor ordered for the Nittany Lions. (Paul Battaglia/AP)

 

When Penn State freshmen quarterback Robert Bolden went down on Saturday against Minnesota, many people gasped as a mediocre season could potentially get much worse.

However, sophomore Matt McGloin stepped right in and threw two touchdown passes in a 33-21 win over a dismal Minnesota team.

McGloin threw was 6-for-13 for 76 yards and two touchdowns in a little over two quarters of work. Bolden went down when he was flushed out of the pocket midway through the second quarter.

The nature of Bolden’s injury hasn’t been revealed yet. He will undergo concussion testing this week in State College.

Before exiting the game, Bolden threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Brent Brackett to put the Nittany Lions ahead 7-0.

While the Golden Gophers are a team that had lost six straight games, they certainly came out playing with fire.

Minnesota answered Penn State’s touchdown with a long 75-yard drive in which Adam Weber was very effective in the passing game. Weber ended the drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Da’Jon McKnight to tie the game.

Early in the second quarter, Bolden led Penn State down the field early in the second quarter which resulted in an Evan Royster touchdown run to put the Nittany Lions ahead 14-7.

With 8:59 left in the second quarter, Bolden was gang tackled by three Minnesota defenders on the far side of the field.

It didn’t take long for McGloin to get acculumated to the Penn State offense. On his second play as quarterback, he threw 42-yard bomb to hit Derek Moye in the end zone for a touchdown to put the Nittany Lions up 21-7 with 4:16 left in the half.

Penn State seemed to have steady control of this game, but Minnesota just would not go away. The Adam Weber-Da’Jon McKnight has absolutely lethal in this game.

Weber hit McKnight for a four-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to cut the Nittany Lion lead to 21-14.

McKnight had eight catches for 108 yards and three touchdowns on the afternoon. The loss of Nick Sukay is proving to be more and more crucial to the Nittany Lions defense’s success.

The Nittany Lions answered a 49-yard field goal from Colin Wagner, who has been very accurate this season.

Seven points was as close as the Golden Gophers would get. McGloin connected with Moye once against for a nine-yard touchdown to make the score 33-14.

Weber hit McKnight one more time for a touchdown. Minnesota’s defense was really the downfall for them in this game.

McKnight had a huge game, but it wasn’t enough as the Nittany Lions came away with the victory.

It will be interesting to see how Bolden reacts to concussion tests this week. It would be premature to rule him out, but it is unlikely to play with concussion syoptoms.

His progress will be monitored throughout the week as Penn State prepares to host the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday.

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Leighton to Undergo Back Surgery

Earlier this week as the Flyers set their roster, the team wasn’t sure whether or not to place goalie Michael Leighton on Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR).  Little did they know, that his bulging disc would turn into a herniated disc and require surgery.  The team announced that Leighton would have surgery Monday, and miss 6-8 weeks.

Michael Leighton will miss 6-8 weeks following back surgery.

But, that wasn’t the only news of the day.  Leighton admitted his back has been bothering him, but didn’t tell the club until it got worse over the summer.  I’m assuming “over the summer” means after he had signed his new two year deal.  Holmgren said yesterday that the Flyers didn’t know about the injury until after the deal was signed.  If he had told the team before signing the deal, the team may have not resigned Leighton, or at the very least the team would have checked his back out to begin with.  But, should have the team checked him out regardless?

This new development comes days after Ian Laperriere admitted he wasn’t honest with the Flyers’ medical staff with his concussion symptoms in order to play in the Stanley Cup Finals.  Leighton says it bothered him during the summer and in training camp, but the preseason game in Toronto (where he was injured) made it flare up worse.

The silver lining is that had the Flyers signed someone like Marty Turco instead of Leighton, rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky would likely be in Adirondack instead of coming off a very good performance in the Flyers’ season opening win in Pittsburgh.

Back injuries are not one to mess with as they can linger throughout the year.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see Leighton missing more than 8 weeks, especially if the Bobrovsky-Brian Boucher tandem are playing well.  As our friend Shawn pointed out, Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin had similar surgery last January, and missed the rest of the regular season (about 3 months).  Is it possible that Bobrovsky staying on the NHL roster had to do with the Flyers believing the Leighton injury was more serious than they first knew, or wasn’t healing (both of which we later found out are true).

It’s entirely possible that Leighton may lose his job if the current tandem are playing well.  At the very least, we’ll have two months of seeing Bobrovsky develop with the Flyers.

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More Ninjury Update

Chris Pronger missed Thursday’s game and will miss tonight’s with St. Louis after missing training camp following knee surgery.  It’s still possible he returns for Monday’s home opener against the Avalanche.  Tim Panaccio reports Pronger will “probably not” play Monday, but will be up to Pronger to return to the lineup when he feels healthy.

Eagles Mistakes Costly

Final Score: Eagles 12; Redskins 17
Eagles best number: 124 (yards passing they held Redskins QB Donovan McNabb to).
Eagles worst number: 169 (yards rushing Washington had).
Eagles best play: S Nate Allen picked-off McNabb inside the 5-yard line.
Eagles worst play: McNabb connected with TE Chris Cooley, who was wide open, for a 31-yard touchdown to make it a 14-0 game.

Three stars
L. McCoy (PHI): 16 carries, 64 yards rushing. 12 catches, 110 yards receiving.
L. Fletcher (WAS): 10 tackles, two assists.
E. Sims (PHI): 5 tackles, assist, sack.

Breaking down the game

Eagles QB Michael Vick is in pain after being crunched by two Redskins defenders down at the goaline. The ply was ruled dead due to holding and Vick left the game with a rbi injury. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

INJURIES — The Eagles offense suffered a huge blow with rib injuries to QB Michael Vick and RB LeSean McCoy. Vick suffered an injury to his rib cartilage, something that will be week-to-week and bother the athletic quarterback for the remainder of the season.

Vick scrambled for 17 yards on the play, taking the ball down to the goal line. But Vick was sandwiched in between two Redskins. Making the play even worse, Jason Peters got called for a hold, negating the huge gainer as Vick was hurt for nothing.

McCoy suffered a broken rib in the fourth quarter of the Eagles loss to Washington. His status is uncertain. It’s a huge blow to their already lacking running game. McCoy is Kolb’s favorite target and is a very important part in their run and passing game.

BAD PENALTIES — Penalties killed the Eagles the entire game against Washington. On the defensive side of the ball, they prolonged drives for the Redskins and holding calls by an offensive line in shambles halted drives their own completely. Overall, the Birds racked-up 80 yards on eight penalties.

Ernie Sims got hit for a roughing the passer on McNabb early in the game (though replays showed it was a weak call) which prolonged a drive. McNabb was picked-off later in the drive.

Max-Jean Gilles, Jason Peters (twice), and Todd Herremans all got called for holding, a coaches ultimate pet peeve and pure example of a lineman getting beat.

JACKSON’S DISAPPEARING ACT — It’s been made very clear that Kevin Kolb and DeSean Jackson are not on the same page. It’s not about being bad teammates or favoritism. It solely relies on Kolb’s lack of athletic ability and the offensive line’s inability to allow Jackson or Jeremy Maclin to get open.

The reason Jackson and Maclin exploded the past couple weeks was because Vick has the ability to avoid the pass rush, extend plays, and let the two speed demons wear down the secondary to get open for big gainers.

Kolb can’t do that. When the line breaks down, Kolb is put on his back or is forced to make a bad throw or forced to dump it off to McCoy, who made 12 catches before getting hurt Sunday. Even last year with McNabb’s athletic ability to avoid the rush and let Jackson and Maclin get open, it shows that the lack of time in the pocket is the reason Jackson has disappeared again and will continue to disappear in the upcoming weeks Vick is not out there.

Redskins QB Donovan McNabb celebrates after throwing a 31-yard touchdown to TE Chris Cooley in the first quarter Sunday. McNabb beat his former team 17-12. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

MCNABB A NON-FACTOR — McNabb started out with decimating the Eagles defense. But it was to the help of his running game, which has been dead all season. Roland Torrain and Clinton Portis combined for 125 yards on the ground as Washington racked up 169 rushing yards.

McNabb disappeared after his 31-yard touchdown strike to Cooley in the second. He finished the game 8-for-19 with 125 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. His only other good pass came when WR Anthony Armstrong burned the secondary for a rolling 59-yard catch.

But the most damage McNabb did was after the game when he announced that, “everyone makes mistakes in their lives and (the Eagles) made one last year.” McNabb said this after the game when Mike Shannahan undeservedly gave McNabb the game ball.

Mr. Shannahan, McNabb did nothing to warrant the game ball. I would have cut the ball in half and give it to Torrain and Portis. McNabb’s 125 yards and 42% completion percentage was awful. Unless you’re just satisfied he didn’t puke on the field, McNabb was not your star.

Flyers Roster Update: Bye-bye Guerin

On a conference call today, Paul Holmgren announced some major roster decisions for the start of the season.  He announced that the Flyers would be releasing Bill Guerin from his Pro Tryout Contract, and Johan Backlund would be sent down to the Phantoms, along with Marc-Andre Bourdon, Erik Gustafsson, Jon Kalinski, Mike Testwuide, David Laliberte and Ben Holmstrom.

How much action will Bobrovsky see with the Flyers?

So, what does this mean for the roster? Well for starters, Sergei Bobrovsky will be on the roster when the Flyers play at Pittsburgh on Thursday.  Also, it means bubble forwards Andreas Nodl and Dan Carcillo are also on the team, at least for the time being.  That leaves the roster at 23 (13 forwards, 8 defensemen, 2 goalies), assuming both Ian Laperriere and Michael Leighton go on Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR).  If both go on the LTIR, just under $2 million in cap space will be available.  So, if the team decides to not place one of the two on LTIR, they have the space to do so (although they would have to clear a roster space).

Holmgren also praised Bobrovsky’s preseason, and said there is a chance that he plays in one of the first two games.  Logical thinking would be the second game, when the Flyers take on the Blues in St. Louis, instead of opening night in Pittsburgh.  Is keeping Bobrovsky with the big club a smart move? I thought he would be better served in the AHL, getting to play the lion’s share of the minutes, but if he’s going to actually play with the Flyers, it could work out.  He’ll gain some experience while Michael Leighton is out.

Was Nodl's defense the deciding factor over Guerin?

It’s a shame for Bill Guerin, who was expected to give the Flyers a veteran presence while being able to contribute on any of the top three lines.  But Guerin didn’t have a very strong preseason, and he was crunched by the numbers.  It seems the team didn’t see him as an upgrade over Andreas Nodl, who played in 10 playoff games for the Flyers last year.  Nodl is better defensively than Guerin is, and that probably hurt Guerin’s cause.  Nodl’s offensive upside is there, but has yet to be realized, scoring only 1 goal in 58 games (including playoffs) over the last two seasons with the Flyers. Nodl had 14 goals in 65 games last year for the Phantoms.

One other burning question is, who will be the 6th defenseman?  Five spots are penned in going to Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn and Andrej Mezsaros.  Three guys are battling for the last spot: veteran Sean O’Donnell, youngster Oskars Bartulis, and Matt Walker, who was acquired in the trade for Simon Gagne.   Pronger’s status (update in the Ninjury Report), is still questionable for the opener, which could help one of the defensemen get into the lineup.  It will be interesting to see which of the three cracks the top-6 as a regular, or if the team will go defenseman by committee.  O’Donnell, who played the last two years with the Los Angeles Kings, has my vote as the 6th defenseman.

Will Jody Shelley be the 13th forward?  Shelley, who was signed from the Rangers in the offseason, is known for his physical prowess.  Most likely, he’ll play against teams with heavyweights, such as the Rangers and Maple Leafs.  It’s possible he’s part of a platoon with Nodl, depending on the matchups, while Ian Laperriere is out with post-concussion syndrome.

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Ninjury Report

Holmgren also announced that Chris Pronger would begin practicing tomorrow, in hopes to play Thursday against the Penguins.  Pronger has missed all of training camp after undergoing knee surgery in the offseason.

The next update on Ian Laperriere is expected to come Wednesday, so hopefully the news is good for Lappy.  He’s still expected to go on the LTIR.

Possibly joining Laperriere on the LTIR is Michael Leighton, which Holmgren said is still a decision that needs to be made.  The team would likely have to make a roster move in order to carry three goalies if Leighton is kept on the active roster.

Update: Checking in with the Flyers Goalies

Another hockey season is upon us, and yet another season where the Philadelphia Flyers have questions in goal.  The tandem of Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher are back for another year after going to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Throughout the system, the Flyers have some promising prospects who may be the future in net.

After being picked up on waivers last season, Michael Leighton got the starting job after Ray Emery and Brian Boucher went down with injuries.  Unfortunately, Leighton was injured in March, and watched Boucher start during the stretch run until he too got hurt in the second round and Leighton started from then all the way through the Cup Finals.  After questions about who the 10-11 Flyers goalies would be, Leighton resigned for a modest 2 year, $3.1 million dollar deal.  Combined with the returning Boucher, it seems that the 1-2 punch would be cemented.  However, Leighton was injured in a preseason game against Toronto, and will miss a month with a herniated disc.  This opens the door for one of the youngsters to step up.

Michael Leighton, while fully functional.

Sergei Bobrovsky was brought over to North America in May after spending the last four years playing in the KHL in Russia.  Bobrovsky got his first taste of NHL action Tuesday night against New Jersey, earning a win after a solid third period and a good shootout performance.  Bobrovsky is most likely slated to play with the AHL Adirondack Phantoms, but that doesn’t stop fans from being excited about the potential the young Russian shows.  He has played in four of the five preseason games so far, and has played extremely well.  Competing with him for the Phantoms starting job will be Johan Backlund, who played 41 games with the Phantoms last year, and got himself into 2 Flyers games (one of which was a playoff game).  Backlund is coming off hip surgery and is still recovering, which may give the edge to Bobrovsky. With Leighton missing a month, one of these guys will be on the Flyers’ roster to start the year, with the other starting in Adirondack.  It may benefit Bobrovsky to start in Adirondack, as he is still getting used to North America, and will get a chance to play.

Two prospects that won’t see NHL action any time soon, but are still on the radar are Nicola Riopel and Joacim Eriksson.  Riopel played a few games with the Phantoms last year before being loaned back to his junior club in Moncton.  While Leightion is out at the NHL level, this gives a Riopel a shot to stay with the Phantoms and get some action with the club.  Eriksson is a interesting name, being a 7th round pick in 2008, and working his way up to be the Flyers’ #1 prospect.  This season, Eriksson will stay overseas with Skelleftea of the Swedish Elite League.

For the past twenty years, the Flyers have had no luck in the goaltending department and it has cost them several times.  Will Leighton return healthy, and will he be the #1 throughout the year? Which goalie will make the opening night roster? Will Bobrovsky continue to be the phenom and swoop in? There are plenty of questions, but one thing is for sure.  One injury allow a guy to be an unlikely hero; we saw it last year.

Note: This was an update based off of the original article, which can be found at Crimespree Hockey.

Eagles Get Banged Up in First Game

Eagles QB Michael Vick scrambles during their 27-20 loss to the Packers. Vick rushed for 103 yards on 11 carries. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Final Score: Packers 27; Eagles 21
Eagles best number: 103 (rushing yards by Michael Vick).
Eagles worst number: 24 (passing yards by Kevin Kolb before he got knocked out in the 2nd quarter).
Eagles best play: In the third quarter, Vick avoided some tackles and ran down the left sideline before being knocked out at the 2-yard line, a gain of 31.
Eagles worst play: Earlier in the third, Vick threw a pass to RB Eldra Buckley, who ran 1o yards before fumbling the ball at mid-field. Green Bay scored their next possession.

Breaking down the game

QB CONTROVERSY? — Kolb was plain bad before getting knocked out of the game. Vick, on the other hand, was not. Vick almost led the Eagle to a come-from-behind win. He went 16-for-24 with 175 yards passing and a TD. He also rushed for 103 yards on 11 attempts, his longest run being 31 yards to set up a LeSean McCoy score.

Before Kolb was knocked out, he went 5-for-10 with 24 yards passing. He was apparently nervous and had a terrible time locating his receivers. This is not the quarterback the Eagles intended to be the heir to Donovan McNabb’s throne.

In fact, Vick played more like a quarterback who can lead a team, which he has done in the past. In one game, Vick has already shown he is smarter, faster, and a better weapon than he was last year. Vick is very close, if not back to his original form before his two-year hiatus.

Overall, I won’t be surprised if Kolb gets the start next week against the Lions but if he falters in that start, Vick may be back out on the field to work his magic.

CONCUSSIONS –Both Stewart Bradley and Kolb had to leave the game with a concussion in the second quarter. Kolb rolled out the left on third down and was chased down by Packers LB Clay Matthews. Kolb had his head driven into the ground, injuring his jaw and scrambling his brain. Kolb was throwing on the side lines and re-entered. But he could not focus, allowing Vick to go in and out shine Kolb.

Bradley’s concussion was a little different. Bradley went in for a huge hit on one of the Packers’ ball carriers and instead drove his helmet into the thigh of LB Ernie Sims. Bradley appeared to be shaken up, staggered to his feet, and then fell right back down. It was a scary sight to watch. Two plays later, he was back on the field.

Why did both of these guys go back onto the field? They passed some stupid little test. Technically, by being concious and passing that stupid little test, they were cleared to go back in. Thankfully after a few plays each, Andy Reid woke up and pulled them for the game.

I can understand putting Kolb back in. He wasn’t clear that he had a concussion seeing as he was holding his jaw and told the medical staff on the side that is what was hurting. But when the leader of your defense, the anchor to your line backing corps, and arguably your best run stopper gets up for two seconds and falls back down like a tranquilized rhino, you take him out of the game and monitor that!

Brian Westbrook was right: the NFL sacrifices players for wins and it’s a bull shit thing to do.

OTHER INJURIES — The Eagles took two huge blows to their offense injury-wise. Pro Bowl FB Leonard Weaver is out for the season with a torn ACL. He was a big part to the Eagles passing game last year out of the back field and is also a great blocker. The hunt for a new full back has started.

On the offensive line, C Jamaal Jackson tore his triceps and is also going to be out for the remainder of the season. He was the anchor of the offensive line and a huge part in their shot gun offense. Mike McGlynn filled in for him for the remainder of the game, doing a solid job.

DEFENSE — The defense was pretty good in the first half, holding the Packers to a touch down and two field goals. They knocked Ryan Grant out of the game (scary to me for fantasy football reasons), put pressure on QB Aaron Rodgers the entire time, and picked him off twice.

But the run defense was absent, especially up the middle without the presence of Bradley. Grant and back-up Brandon Jackson rushed for a combined 108 yards on 16 carries. FB John Kuhn had two carries for 15 yards and touchdown, both runs up the middle.

NEXT WEEK — The Eagles play the Lions in Detroit. Expect Kolb to get the start and try and right himself with Andy Reid. Going up against a very weak Lions defense, Kolb will need to have a game similar to his start against the Chiefs last season to give the Eagles confidence in him. If he struggles and Vick has to come in and shine again, the Philly faithful will be calling for Vick as the starter.

Emery Shut Down

GM Paul Holmgren announced today that goaltender Ray Emery would be “shut down” for three weeks to strengthen his hip.  Three weeks from today would be March 4th, a day after the trading deadline.  Between now and then, the Flyers have four games, including two against Montreal this weekend.  Having Emery miss the time now is better than when the Flyers are playing every other night in March. 

Surely Paul Holmgren will have an idea how healthy Emery is by the time the Olympic freeze is over.  If he is not improving, has a couple days to make a trade for a goalie, if he chooses to.  If Holmgren stands pat, which he likely will do, the Flyers will ride Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher. 

Hopefully this rest does Emery good and he comes back 100% and ready for the stretch run.  Undoubtably this will have an effect on Emery getting an extension, as his agent and Holmgren were going to discuss one after the trade deadline.  If Leighton continues to play well, will he make Emery earn back the starter’s job for the playoffs?  I’d be willing to bet Peter Laviolette gives Emery a chance to regain the job but still has confidence in Leighton.

We’ll continue to monitor Emery’s progress over the next couple weeks.

Tuesday Afternoon Flyers Roundup

If you caught last night’s Flyers game, you would have seen Jeff Carter flatten Devils’ defenseman Anssi Salmela, as Salmela was scoring the Devils’ second goal.  Salmela lay motionless on the ice for a couple of minutes before being taken off on a stretcher.  He ended up with a re-broken nose, and lost a couple of teeth, but other than that seemed okay. 

The initial uproar was over a Flyer knocking out an opposing player for the second time this year.  However, Carter appeared to hit Salmela with his shoulder to Salmela’s shoulder, but on the followthrough hit Salmela’s head as well.  The timing of the hit is also unfortunate, as Salmela was in the process of scoring. 

The most unfortunate thing was that Salmela was hurt during the play.  It’s never good to see anyone injured, whether it’s the Flyers or their opponents.  The next thought is, will Jeff Carter be suspended?  If I was in charge, I would say no.  Carter wasn’t even penalized on the play, and he is hardly a dirty player.  Any uproar over this hit stems from the fact that Salmela was injured.  Had Salmela gotten up fine, it would be a non-issue.

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Flyers goaltender Ray Emery underwent an MRI on Monday, after suffereing tightness in his left hip.  Paul Holmgren said it could be a labrum tear and may need surgery.  It’s entirely possible that Emery could play through the rest of the season before having surgery in the summer.  The Flyers and their fans will find out this afternoon how bad Emery is hurt. 

Emery’s injury could affect the Flyers playoff hopes.

A couple of questions are raised because of this latest twist in the Emery saga.  First, was Ray Emery rushed back into the lineup, and overworked once he came back?  He was ahead of schedule for his rehab and returned at the beginning of his window of expected return.  Emery had played eight straight games since coming back, which worried fans, overworking a goalie coming right off of injury. 

Secondly, if Emery is out for any extended period of time, do the Flyers feel confident in Michael Leighton, who has played well, but has no NHL playoff experience.  Does Brian Boucher factor in at all, having not played since January 3, when he relieved Leighton in an eventual 7-4 loss.  If the Flyers don’t feel confident in either of those guys, will they make a move to acquire a goaltender for the stretch? 

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The Flyers submitted bids to host the NHL Entry Draft within the next few years and the NHL All-Star game in either 2012 or 2013.  Philadelphia has never hosted the draft, and hasn’t hosted the All-Star game since 1992, when the team still played at the Spectrum.  Personally I think it would be cool to host either of these events, because they don’t come around very often.  It would be nice to see who we draft in the first round (provided we still have it).  If either of these events come to Philly, chalk me down for going.

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If you stayed up late last night to watch the Ducks and Kings tangle, you would have seen Ryan Getzlaf injured in the second period.  The Ducks forward, a member of Team Canada, is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his ankle this afternoon, and it’s possible he will have to withdraw from the Olympics.  Among rumored replacements is Flyers center Jeff Carter, who has played better since the initial team was announced.  As well as he has been playing, I don’t see him being Getzlaf’s replacement.