How To: Identify a Player’s Injury

Updated: January 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm by Chris Wassel

Today we discuss the second part to our installment from last week that begged the question, so how do you survive injuries?  Now no one in their right mind can see injuries before they happen or necessarily prevent injuries.  However, with a little knowledge and a touch of common sense, these maladies can be figured out with surprising cunning.

Talking to a few sports doctors out there, one of the most critical things learned was simply let the rumor mongers have their fun and turn with it.  Look at some of the injuries that we showed last week right HERE.

Think of guys like Matt Taormina for just a second.  His season is pretty well over ladies and gentlemen with a non-displaced injury to the ankle.  The Devils defenseman was really their only true two-way guy on the blueline. Unfortunately what was once thought to be just a high ankle sprain was something he never should have skated on.

First there was Zach Parise with the knee.  That was both his fault and the the team’s.  Anyone who thinks that Parise just has a torn meniscus does not know their bleep from their bleep.  If the injury report tells you three to four months, we can tell you its more than meets the eye with a knee injury.  Just think these are not the only injuries that teams unintentionally or intentionally tried to pull over one’s eyes.

The worst may be in Pittsburgh with Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (leg).  Crosby was thought to be fine after the hit from Mr. David Steckel and then got hit by Viktor Hedman.  It turned out that he had a concussion that could have likely been diagnosed after hit number one. Evgeni Malkin definitely has a nagging injury that he has been playing with for a little while.  Maybe the attention given to Crosby is a little overkill? Perhaps and now as a result, both Pittsburgh superstars are now injured.

Clearly medical staffs are overwhelmed this year with not the amount of injuries but seemingly the relentless wave of how they come and who they hit.  Top level players really are bearing the brunt here in ways that were unfathomable even 10 or 20 years ago.  They are being second guessed so much that people that normally would treat cuts and bruises are now asked to act like a PR curator to the Injury Circus.

Here are quick ways to know your injury and what it means to your fantasy team.  All it takes is a few easy steps.

Step 1:  Watch your choice of media.

This is essential because sometimes reports are not exaggerated necessarily but they jump the gun.  Taking a look via twitter today, there was chatter that Brandon Dubinsky was hurt a bit more than first expected.  Sure enough he has a broken Fibula in his left leg and will be out 3-4 weeks.  Keep in mind that this is a stress fracture only.  Some outlets may forget about it.  It happens all the time.  In the quest to be the first and fastest, sometimes those nagging things called facts get in the way.  There is that E guy and well when it comes to injuries, stay far far away.

There are the usual reliable sources.  Beat writers and bloggers often work in concert here so just kind of scoop around.  Even most bloggers have a general idea of injuries because some of them get this, played the sport as well.  Then there are your guys that you turn to from the print media that one knows are extremely reliable.  Just watch the media and choice of media because they will either steer or veer you from the right injury.

Step 2:  Trust the Injury Ninja

Most times the Injury Ninja will get it right because fortunately he has a solid grasp on the injuries a hockey player would experience, possibly because the I.N. has encountered most of them at one point or the other.  All those funny lower, middle, upper body injuries can be translated into pulled hammy, separated shoulder, and broken ribs just that easily most of the time. Sometimes we do not get it quite right but the vast majority of times, we find a way.

We see a lot of these injuries as they happen live with leads to step 3.

Step 3:  Watch those injuries happen to see.

Looking at your television can sometimes tell you what kind of injury may have occurred.  With super slo-mo and all sorts of cool DVR and TIVO features, a hockey watcher can simply be just like the experts.  Fast forward, rewind, but by all means just take a look at the entire play.  It almost feels like an episode of one of those crime dramas when the whole clip is put together. Watch it normal and then speed it up or slow it down.

Truly it can be a very helpful way to give you an idea of what injury is being dealt with and maybe even a timetable and prognosis.

Step 4:  Take a look at previous history.

Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.  That is not quite how it goes, I know.  Players that get hurt the same way are often precursors to the current injury.  If a slew of guys separate their shoulder and you see the pattern, you can pick up on at least the injury and if not the timetable as well.  Also if a bunch of players come down with the flu, one can almost surmise others that could come down with it as well.

Lastly there are always that Injury Du Jour.  What is it?  Simply the Injury Of The Day seems to be a rash of similar injuries that take place during a segmented time period.  It could be an ankle, shoulder, groin.  Groin are especially a favorite around the holidays.  Some of these observations sound laughable but really they are not.  Follow your gut when looking back so you can look forward.

Step 5:  Repeat Steps 1-4

This sounds corny but very true.

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