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April 8, 2014

So Much For RB Depth

Filed under: Football,Injury,Practice — Chas @ 7:23 am

At least for the rest of spring practices.

It’s been quite a few months in the offline world. Not necessarily in a good way. That’s really all I want to say about the latest gap in posting.

When last I posted on football it was about the running back position. About how there was depth and lots of good feelings at the spot. Naturally that couldn’t last.

Pitt running backs James Conner and Isaac Bennett will miss the final five practices of the spring session because of injuries suffered Friday, the university announced via social media.

Conner, a rising sophomore, sprained his left knee, while Bennett, a senior, sprained his left shoulder, the team posted on Twitter.

The injuries are not expected to prevent them from being ready for offseason conditioning when it begins in May, the team said.

Bennett and Conner combined for 1,596 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns last season.

Conner left the indoor practice facility on a golf cart with his knee wrapped in ice. He had an MRI, which revealed no structural damage.

Not long after Conner was injured, Bennett injured his shoulder. He watched the remainder of practice with his arm in a sling.

Yes, it could have been worse. Both with sprains. Not tears or breaks or anything else.

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February 10, 2014

Getting By

Filed under: Basketball,Injury — Chas @ 1:53 pm

You know all those years of Pitt teams where there was no “go to guy?” The guy on that the team looks to score. The most visible offensive threat. Kind of think Pitt has one of those this year, and the VT game was what happens when he’s not right. Still, I’ll take escaping (again) with the win.

Lamar Patterson had the tape on the right  hand and thumb, and it was evident how much of a problem it was when he couldn’t aim straight. To say nothing of struggling with his handle.

It isn’t right to say Pitt is decimated by injuries, but there is a toll at the moment that is rather high. Durand Johnson’s injury has been an issue but plenty of teams can withstand losing their 6th man.

It’s the nagging injuries to Talib Zanna and now Lamar Patterson that are the concerns of the moment.

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January 12, 2014

No, Durand, No!!!

Filed under: Basketball,Injury,Players — Chas @ 4:17 pm

This sucks. This really sucks.

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November 19, 2013

You can have the best facilities. A world-class training staff. Everything you need or could possibly want. And injuries will still happen. Just ask Florida this year. Or just go back to the 2011 season.

Pitt had a couple early bye weeks in the first half of the season and has now played six straight games. It can’t be terribly surprising that injuries are starting to happen with what seems increasing frequency.

Cornerbacks Trenton Coles and Titus Howard were the latest to join that group this week, as Pitt has suffered through a rash of injuries over the past few weeks, costing them a number of starters and key contributors.

In addition to the two cornerbacks, starting left guard Cory King (hamstring) and left tackle Adam Bisnowaty (back) also missed a 34-27 loss Saturday against North Carolina. Backup tight end Scott Orndoff has missed the past two games and appeared on the field for warm-ups Saturday with a sizable brace on his left leg. Defensive end Ejuan Price has missed the past four games with a back injury.

Add in (hopefully) a minor ankle to Devin Street and knee injury to Tom Savage and everyone begins to wonder.

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August 27, 2013

Who Will Run the Ball

Filed under: Football,Injury — Chas @ 9:58 am

I honestly don’t know, and don’t think anyone will know until Pitt’s offense takes the field on Monday Night.

Here’s Coach Paul Chryst’s comments on Isaac Bennett.

“He did some stuff yesterday in practice. He obviously missed quite a bit of time, so it’s too early to tell if he’ll be ready. But he was able to go through some things yesterday. We’ll see how he comes back today.”

Now, James Conner.

“He practiced some yesterday, so we’ll see where he’s at during practice today.”

These are the closed practices, so what that means is unknown. They could have just stretched with the team and done light jogging on the side. Or they could have been in there doing contact drills.

The point is, he essentially said the same thing for both. And said the same nothing about both.

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October 29, 2012

Another October of Injury Disasters

Filed under: Football,Injury — Chas @ 1:49 pm

Not quite the miserable M*A*S*H unit of last year’s UConn game — and for the season — but geez. Bad things out of the Temple game.

Pitt coach Paul Chryst announced Monday that three players — linebackers Dan Mason and Manny Williams and offensive lineman Ryan Schlieper — would miss the rest of the season with injuries.

Manny Williams got hurt in the Louisville game. An ACL injury that has kept him out of the last few games. He has been trying to rehab, but it isn’t getting that much better so he is opting for the season-ending surgery.

Dan Mason. Yow. Just yow.

Mason returned earlier this season after missing two years with a knee injury, but lacerated his liver making a tackle late in the Temple game. Chryst said he is healing normally, and was optimistic that he could return for spring practice next year.

This just isn’t fair.

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September 21, 2012

Injuries Ahead of the Can’t Lose

Filed under: Football,Injury — Chas @ 8:42 am

I’m not saying it’s a must win. It’s much more that Pitt cannot lose. They can’t lose to two 1-AA teams in a season (or ever again). And they certainly can’t lose another home game.

Pitt lost Jahmal Pardner in the VT game. DE Jack Lippert and TE Hubie Graham missed the VT game with injuries. LB Todd Thomas has remained in recovery mode from off-season ACL surgery — but is apparently getting closer to seeing action.

The good news is that linebacker Todd Thomas, a 2011 starter who had knee surgery in January, might get his first snaps of the season Saturday.

“I don’t want to say it’s like sending a pitcher down to Triple-A to throw, but you have to get some live work,” Chryst said. “We have to see where Todd is at.”

Thomas has been practicing for the past week and has been encouraged by his progress.

“(He) felt better after each day,” Chryst said. “Todd was able to do a lot more (Wednesday) than he did a week ago, and Tuesday he did a fair amount.”

There had been rumors that Thomas might get on the field last week. Now, it is Coach Chryst saying its possible. So at least he’s getting closer.

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August 24, 2012

A Very Soft Middle

Filed under: Football,Injury — Chas @ 12:09 am

In case you missed it, the already thin and questionable linebacking corps got a bit thinner with the news of Ejuan Price.

Linebacker Ejuan Price tweeted that he will take a medical redshirt after undergoing pectoral surgery in the spring.

In the long-run, it is probably good for Pitt. The linebackers will be stronger, and Price will have an extra year.

But this year? With Todd Thomas still a big question mark when he is getting all the way back from his ACL surgery? Not so much.

Dan Mason may see more action than anyone really wanted that surgically repaired foot to ever see at this rate. Or maybe Pitt pioneers a 4-2-3-2 defense as a more general defensive look. There is going to be a lot of trial by fire for some of the underclassmen.

One thing I’m feeling sure of: there won’t be a label on Coach Paul Chryst about how he doesn’t play freshmen.

 

August 22, 2012

Graham “Unlikely”

Filed under: Football,Injury,Players — Chas @ 3:19 pm

Not exactly surprising

Pittsburgh starting running back Ray Graham is “unlikely to play” in the Panthers’ season opener against Youngstown State on Sept. 1, sources told ESPN.

Graham, a senior, is still recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee suffered against Connecticut on Oct. 26 and has been limited in fall drills. Before last year’s injury, he was the nation’s second-leading rusher, averaging 134.1 yards per game.

Still a little disappointing if so. As the article notes, Graham would also be unlikely for the Cinci game that is only 5 days later (Thursday night) as well. But better to keep him out, even for the Cinci game as well for Graham’s own good — as well as Pitt for the rest of the season.

Small factual error in the piece that says Rushel Shell is the back-up to Isaac Bennett. Reality is that Malcolm Crockett is almost certainly the back-up to Bennett.

August 17, 2012

Injury Issues

Filed under: Football,Injury,Practice — Chas @ 4:05 pm

Yes, Coach Paul Chryst is downplaying the injuries at this point in training camp. Probably with good reason. Most of them are bangs and bruises where it seems there is erring on the side of caution. There are only a handful of serious or concerning injuries or holding players out of practices.

Among the injured players are four potential starters on defense, including safety Jason Hendricks, linebackers Todd Thomas and Shane Gordon, and defensive tackle K.K. Mosley-Smith. Cornerback Lafayette Pitts had a death in his family and was excused from practice. He was replaced by Cullen Christian. Also out is wide receiver Mike Shanahan (hamstring) and backup safety Steve Williams, who had his left arm in a sling.

K.K. Smith and LaQuentin Smith returned yesterday, so there is that.

Hendricks was already coming back from a season ending injury. His struggles to stay healthy, though, could cost him his starting safety position. Pitt has the depth at the spot and at some point he falls too far behind in practice.

Todd Thomas is much more of a concern since he has the potential to be Pitt’s best linebacker this season. Definitely the most athletic. Shane Gordon has not played since the scrimmage when he got knocked out cold. Haven’t seen an actual listing of the injury, but I think it would be safe to say he’s out with a concussion or “concussion-like symptons.”

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August 16, 2012

Linebackers Will Get Help

Filed under: Football,Injury,Practice — Chas @ 10:41 am

I realize Pitt is re-transitioning to a 4-3 defense, from the 3-4, but given that it was only one season. And most of the players were already schooled in the 4-3 principles, I’m not going to be buying too many excuses for struggling based on that move.

On the other hand, the linebackers themselves may be a big concern. Todd Thomas appears to be slower coming back from his ACL injury than hoped. Shane Gordon is out, Ejuan Price is coming back slowly from a spring injury, and several others appear to be dinged up at the moment. Heck, moving to a 4-3 may have been necessary based on the depth chart.

With Thomas out, and linebacker Shane Gordon “day to day,” fifth-year seniors Manny Williams and Joe Trebitz have filled those roles. Wednesday, redshirt freshman Jason Frimpong found himself practicing with the first-team linebackers after Eric Williams went down with an injury.

Trebitz played in 12 games last year, but registered just five tackles. Manny Williams didn’t see meaningful playing time.

Now, Chryst said, is the chance for those guys to prove they deserve playing time once the presumed starters return.

“We’ll find out [about our depth] as you go through in practice,” Chryst said. “Because of the guys that aren’t practicing, other guys have opportunities and we’ll see what they do with that opportunity.”

Lots of questions about how the linebackers will turn out, since there isn’t a lot of experience.

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July 19, 2012

Hoping Turnley Has a Pain-Free 2012

Filed under: Football,Injury,Players — Chas @ 10:25 am

Ryan Turnley wasn’t just battling injuries in one foot all season last year. No, it was both feet.

Turnley initially got hurt against Utah. He says the injury was a shock to the system, particularly because he never really had one as serious during his career. The following week against UConn, he hurt his other foot.

“The thing about the one in the UConn game was that it was on a screen,” Turnley recalled. “I was pulling out to the left. I went to cut a linebacker, and it felt like the sole of my shoe ripped out, that’s the sound it made and the feeling I had. I got up on my feet, and I said, ‘It happened again. I can’t believe it.’ We completed the pass, and we ran a hurry-up no huddle, so I limped my way over to the line and snapped the ball. I didn’t have time to think about it. I went to the sideline, then to the locker room for pain medicine, and came back.”

Turnley ended up with torn plantar fascia in both feet. On crutches all week, but was in for every snap of every game. He converted to center last spring. As much out of need by Pitt as there was for an opportunity to play. He proved to be far, far better than anyone expected.

 

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June 5, 2012

The NCAA finally changed some of the rules for college basketball players in the summer. The old rule forbade any organized practicing overseen by the coaching staff. Some individualized sessions were allowed, but not the whole team at once.

The rationale was that summer practicing under the coaches control would make college sports too much like a professional sports system, and all the other justifications. This led to fascinating work-arounds. Like the head coach have his office built with big windows to oversee the practice court. And if he happened to be in the office when the kids came for their own voluntary practices, well, then he could stand and watch them through the class. And, hey, that banging on the glass by the coach wasn’t to get their attention. He just heard something on the TV that caused him to react.

The NCAA finally loosened the rules and allows the coach two whole hours a week to work with the entire team.

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May 24, 2012

Derrick Burns Will Be Okay

Filed under: Football,Injury — Chas @ 12:09 am

His football career is almost certainly done, but he still has his life.

The 20-year-old had been seen by a doctor after he complained of a severe headache and numbness in his side, but no one suspected a stroke.

“Found a mass, a blood clot in the back of his head, and a small one on the left side which caused a stroke and left his right side weak,” Dan Burns, Derrick’s adoptive father, said.

Wow.

Scary beyond belief. The silver lining — and there really is one — is that he will be all right and this can be addressed early enough for him to get well and live a normal life. Yes, football is done for him. But he still can get his education (I am assuming that Pitt is going to do the right thing and honor his scholarship). He still gets to live his life.

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May 23, 2012

Burns Hospitalized

Filed under: Football,Injury,Players — Chas @ 7:05 am

Still no confirmed reports on what sent Derrick Burns to the hospital.

Pitt football player Derrick Burns was hospitalized Tuesday with an unspecified medical condition, according to a statement released by the school’s athletic department.

Burns, a 5-foot-11, 235-pound redshirt freshman fullback, was listed in stable condition Tuesday night. More information about his condition was expected after tests were completed.

Rumors are he was life-flighted to UPMC. That there is a blood clot. But again, no confirmation.

Hopefully this will turn out to be a small problem, or one that was caught early enough. It goes without saying, that his football career takes a backseat to being able to live a long and healthy life.

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