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Injured Feelings

Yesterday, there were rumors (not even reports) floating around that Bob Sanders was done for the year.

I didn’t link to them or mention them here, because the person who started the rumors wasn’t willing to stand by them even within the story itself.  Then yesterday Sanders showed up at practice and was walking through.  So basically, we know nothing about Sanders’ injury status.

Since there’s no point in speculating about Sanders, what’s more interesting to me is fans’ anger about injuries.  Recently, the Reds’ Jay Bruce pulled a muscle in his side.  He sat out one game ‘as a precaution’. Then, he sat out another.  Before you know it, he was down almost two weeks.  Fans began to get angry at Bruce, the team, the media, and everyone who had ever heard of Jay Bruce.

I’ve seen the same kind of reaction from Colts’ fans.  Indy has been among the most injured teams for several years running, and patience is wearing thin in Colts’ nation. It seems that many fans would rather just be rid of injured players than wait for them to be healthy.  There is also a lot of angst focused at management for ‘not being honest’ about injuries.

Frankly, I’ve never understood those reactions.  I don’t know where the angst comes from.  It can’t all be from gambling and fantasy football, can it?  I can understand that what gamblers want is as many known quantities as possible. If you are laying money on the game, you want to know who is playing.  For the common fan, like myself, I don’t understand the angst.

People should rarely blame the player.  I know there are a few soft suzies out there who sit in the training room with every bump and bruise, but those guys don’t typically make the NFL.  Bob Sanders is hurt because he plays all out.  Fans used to KILL Ken Griffey Jr. for his injuries, but all of them came from running into walls and straining to make plays.  Bob Sanders is hurt all the time because he’s playing hard.  It hurts me when he gets hurt.  He isn’t a guy who wants to sit.  Moreover, the team knew he was an injury risk when they drafted and when the resigned him.  He’s always been a calculated risk.  We all knew that going in.  The team has a solid backup for him.  When he plays, he helps us.  When he doesn’t, it doesn’t hurt the team, so why are people angry?  I understand and feel the pain and disappointment, but the anger doesn’t compute.

I also don’t understand anger directed at the team.  Let me be clear: all teams should follow NFL rules.  However, within those rules I don’t care if the Colts give us information.  If they feel like they get an advantage by being coy with the media and fans about injuries, they should do it.

I WANT THEM TO WIN GAMES!  As long as they win, they can stonewall about Bob Sanders, Gonzo, CJ, Saturday and anyone else with a Horseshoe on the helmet.  As someone who writes about and comments on the Colts, it would be nice to have accurate information, but you know what I’d rather have?  WINS.  Does playing games with the injury report win games?  Who knows.  I doubt it.  If Bill Polian thinks it does, then that’s good enough for me.  If the Reds feel like hiding Jay Bruce’s injury helps them win games, then they should do it. As long as my team is actively trying to win, I’m good with whatever the boundaries of the rules allow.

I hate injuries.  I agonize over who is playing and who isn’t.  The “I’m tired of so and so” argument doesn’t fly with me though.  When the team decides they can’t deal with a player’s injuries any more, they cut him (see Ugoh, Tony).  That’s the club’s choice, not mine.  In the case of a guy like Sanders, much of the drama this season has come from bad media reporting.  Mike Lombardi floats a bogus story, and we get worked up.  Florio pisses into the wind, and we get worked up and then claim to be tired of the drama. Maybe if we didn’t fixate on every hack out there, we wouldn’t have so much drama to be tired of.  Sanders was just hurt two days ago.  Can’t we just wait a week and see what happens before overreacting?

I hope Bob is ok.  If he plays, he plays.  I love him.  I will never hold anything against him. He’s given us his body, one limb at a time.  I hope Gonzo is ok.  We NEED him.  I’m not mad at him, though.  If he could have played on Sunday, he would have.

Getting hurt isn’t a sign of ‘fragility’. It’s a sign that the NFL is a violent game. It destroys the human body.

There’s no point in getting angry about that.