suntimes
CRISP 
Weather Updates

MORRISSEY: Chicago sports have been hit hard by injuries

Updated: November 14, 2013 12:28PM



Some people cover basketball or football for a living. I cover
injuries. Lately, all I do is go from sport to sport and write about sprained ankles, torn
groins and strained hamstrings. That’s the current state of
Chicago sports.

Bears stars Jay Cutler and Charles Tillman got hurt Sunday. Three weeks before that, it was Lance Briggs and Cutler (with a different injury). Before that, it was Henry Melton and Nate Collins. I can recite their injuries like I can the Pledge of Allegiance.

Wednesday found me checking in on Bulls guard Derrick Rose, whose hamstring injury has had Chicagoans holding their breath long enough to look like Blue Man Group, at the Berto Center. Rose really has done a number on this city. We watched him model inactive wear last season while he rehabbed a reconstructed left knee. If he coughs now, we immediately suspect lung cancer.

The Bulls held Rose out of practice Wednesday, though coach Tom Thibodeau said his point guard was ‘‘doing a little better.’’ Instead of practicing, Rose tended to the hamstring he strained Monday against the Cavaliers. The Bulls haven’t made a decision about whether he’ll play Friday against the Raptors.

This is the gospel truth: Until we see the results of his rehab and put our hands on his hammy, we won’t believe he’s ‘‘doing a little better.’’ We’ll believe he’s dead.

We’d be in a more believing frame of mind if everyone weren’t hurt.

As you might have heard, Cutler suffered a torn groin muscle
Oct. 20 against the Redskins. He was supposed to miss a minimum of four weeks, but there he was Sunday, three weeks after the injury occurred, playing against the Lions. And there he was, moving like Fred Sanford after spraining his ankle in the second quarter.

Or did he? Some people are questioning whether Cutler has an ankle injury. They wonder whether he actually reinjured his groin and whether the Bears are trying to cover it up.

But not me, your chronicler
of contusions and concussions. No, sir.

It was entirely fitting that new Cubs manager Rick Renteria couldn’t travel to Chicago for his introductory news conference last week because of recent hip surgery. He was so enthusiastic during his conference call with Chicago reporters that I think he might have sprained a vocal cord.

On the college level, Northwestern spent much of its season signaling there was a chance standout running back Venric Mark would play, despite the vague ‘‘lower body’’ injury everyone knew was a fractured ankle. Whether his return was a real possibility or whether NU wanted its opponents to have to prepare for the prospect of facing Mark, I don’t know. All I know is that wondering what his status was became a spectator sport in Chicago — and not a very interesting one. He recently announced he would petition the NCAA for a medical hardship waiver, which would allow him to play for the Wildcats next season.

Checking on the status of these injured players is tedious, but at least it gives all of us a respite from the normal sports fare of drug busts, domestic violence and Richie Incognito. But that’s just me, always seeing the positive in things.

Speaking of positives, the Blackhawks have managed to avoid serious injury so far, though they’re only five weeks into the season. I’m certain there’s a leg injury just waiting for the right time to strike. Fall is a season, but it’s also a verb.

Hawks defenseman Michal Rozsival needed stitches after taking a puck to the face Sunday against the Oilers. Do you know what we call that in the City of Separated Shoulders? Amateur hour.

I’m sure hockey fans would say the same thing about Rose’s sore hamstring. Hockey players would try to play even if someone had taken a meat slicer to their hammies. But Rose’s knee injury left us with trust issues. We can’t help ourselves.

‘‘If he can play, he’ll play,’’ Thibodeau said of the game Friday. ‘‘If he can’t, he’ll sit.’’

Thanks for the pep talk, Coach.

Presented with the concept of blind faith, the optimists among us see ‘‘faith.’’ The rest of us see ‘‘blind,’’ with multiple organ failure not far behind.

We can’t help but look at all the injured athletes in Chicago and wonder, ‘‘Who’s next?’’ I know: What an awful, ghoulish question to ask.

Not to alarm White Sox fans, but has anyone done a well-being check on Chris Sale’s left elbow lately?



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.