Mike Maniscalco

Quick Hits: Injuries, brackets and the combine

Posted February 20, 2013

The NHL is big on player safety, so much so they don’t let the media or the fans know what is wrong with their injured players. Instead of listing the injury like the rest of the major sports, the NHL allows teams to call an injury an upper or lower body concern. While in theory this prevents opponents from targeting an injury, it does a disservice to the player.

By identifying what an injury is, people will have an idea why a player might be struggling with his performance. The NFL lists every injury, and while ‘bounty gate’ became a huge scandal with the New Orleans Saints, targeting players with the intent to injure had everything to do with knocking out specific players. My co-host and former NFL player, Mark Thomas has pointed out that a player rarely thinks about his opponent having a bad left knee when trying to tackle him, the player is just trying to make the tackle. I don’t 100% agree with that theory, but it is hard to think in the course of a game while trying to make a tackle that players only go for a targeted area. Plus in collision sports injuries will happen. Tom Brady shows up every week on the New England Patriots injury report and whatever malady he has isn’t the single focus of the defense that lines up against him.

The other reason, and this is a selfish reason, but people want to know what is wrong with a player. Leaving the media to guess can create problems between the team and a reporter. It is not the intention to broadcast that the player is concussed and should be the focal point of the other team to try to remove him from the game. If anything, by letting people know what the injury is it might cut the player some slack in today’s instant reaction world. Don’t take that as the media crying about not being able to do our job, it is for the benefit of the fans of the game. If you know a player is hurt, it is hard to give him grief if he is trying to play through an injury.

Most players today understand that injuring each other hurts the game.

Plus every league is concerned and overly cautious with head injuries and they should be. If a player is concussed why not let people know about that injury? It will benefit the league, a case-in-point is Sidney Crosby, players have told me that they are still going to finish a check on him but because of what the Pittsburgh Penguin captain means to the NHL they won’t take a silly run at him.

Again I understand the reasoning behind the NHL being vague about injuries, but it doesn’t help protect players as much as the league thinks it does.

ACC gets three??

Spoke with Jerry Palm from CBSSports.com, and the bracketologist told us that there is a greater possibility of the ACC getting three schools in the tournament than five. Duke and Miami are locks for the ‘Big Dance’, with NC State still on the invite list, but Palm is not too thrilled with the resumes of North Carolina and Virginia. UNC still has two chances on their schedule to impress the selection committee with NC State and Duke left to play at the Dean Dome. Virginia has bad losses according to Palm and only Duke left on the docket to try to earn a big win.

While the ACC hasn’t had a season filled with stellar non-conference wins, other than the Blue Devils, the NCAA tournament is as much about interesting TV as it is crowning a champion. No matter how deserving Charlotte is, the UNC in Chapel Hill draws more eyeballs to TV and people to the arena. At a cost of a billion dollars to have the rights to the NCAA tournament, it is not wrong in thinking that the bigger the name, the better the chances, especially if that team has 20 plus wins in the ACC.

The most important gym class of their lives

The NFL Combine will get going this weekend and there won’t be one game played among the players headed to Indianapolis. It is drills, forty-times and twenty questions that matter to the NFL scouts. Have a great combine and your draft stock shoots through the roof, have an off day and guaranteed first round selections fall faster than a boulder dropped into a lake.

This time of year leads to the cautionary tale about the combine making a player a high first round pick: Mike Mamula. The Boston College defensive product trained specifically for the combine and his measurables were through the roof. The Eagles got hooked on him and his incredible workout, using the seventh overall selection on him. Mamula played six seasons and his ‘gym class’ numbers were far more productive than his NFL stats.

So for all you NFL fans out there that will watch this weekend and drool over forty times, ask yourself how many times does a player run in a straight line during a football game? 

Just remember, Jerry Rice was reportedly clocked at a 4.71 forty time and his career seemed to turn out okay.


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  • Hammerhead Feb 20, 2013

    View quoted thread

    He's back at UT, trying to earn a degree. No lie.

  • StunGunn Feb 20, 2013

    I'm surprised - and happy - to learn that NHL players respect Crosby enough not to take a cheap hit on him. I sure wish they'd show Jeff Skinner the same respect, but I realize Skins isn't in the same category as Sid the Kid.

    I can see where Carolina is on the bubble - and the remaining games on their schedule won't make the wins they need to hear their name called on Selection Sunday easy to come by. State and Duke, even in the Smith Center, will be tough games to win.

  • I am not who you think I am Feb 20, 2013

    always get a laugh out of QB Wonderlic scores.....Vince Young where are you

  • Hammerhead Feb 20, 2013

    The combine serves to document the tangible/measureable qualities of a player. It's a convenient way to find these things out since all of the potential draftees are in one place at one time. Football is far more than that, that's what the teams watch film and scout players for. Mamula and Jerry Rice will always be the cliches for silly combine stories such as this. We get it.

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