Please don't let it be so...please don't let the ACL injury train start again like last year. I woke up this morning after enjoying another unemployed night at the bar to read that medical redshirt freshman, OG Max Tuioti-Mariner, had torn his ACL in his left knee again. He is out for spring drills and I would be shocked to see him at all this year. Maybe if this was his first knee injury, I could see it but I think Hawkins and Co. might be a little optimistic on this one as this is his third ACL tear. If you remember, MTM tore his right ACL last year and his senior year of high school, he tore his left. But I am not a doctor, so what do I know other than in all my days of watching sports, that would be a pretty amazing turn around.
Why the title "Déjà Vu"? Well, if you remember last year, the Buffs lost four players to that horrible little ACL injury. After reading the MTM story this morning, I immediately said "why are all of our players getting hurt in non-contact drills again" and then I thought about this post I put up last year, talking about the dirty three letters. I looked back at that story which covered the nine total ACL injuries that the Buffs and Florida Gators had last year (only if we could lose 5 guys to an ACL injury and still win the national championship) and I think my opening paragraph applies again here:
Something must be in the water in Boulder and Gainsville...either that or these non-contact drills that keep getting these finely tuned athletes to tear their ACL's is the most rigorous physical non-contact exercises in the history of college football. Fans are hearing the same coach speak, "we are doing nothing different than prior year's, if anything, we have lightened the physical strain on athletes." Well, I am not a doctor and I am not a college football coach so I can't explain it but I am completely baffled by the number of Colorado Buffalo and Florida Gator athletes that have torn that dirty little ACL.
All we can do now is hope that this is the first and last major injury of the spring...the Buffs deserve some luck after the last three years of more than enough challenges and heartbreak. One of the things that we can't afford is more injuries because that will ultimately lead to more excuses and we all know that is off limits in 2009.
As for filling the void of Max Tuioti-Mariner, I feel pretty confident that with guys who got experience last year plus the return of players like Sione Tau (fingers crossed), Drew Hudgins and Bryce Givens, the Buffs should be able to find a guy that will be successful at guard. That being said, MTM is a special talent. He didn't play football his entire senior season of high school but came into camp, tore it up and found himself starting as a true freshman before he got hurt. That is a talent.
In other news...
From the Boulder Daily Camera, here are some interesting injury stats from last year that are carrying over to this year affecting spring drills:
CU has a total of 20 players coming off some sort of serious injury or surgery in 2008, and eight of them are expected to be limited in spring drills, which were moved back to April to allow maximum healing time.
Four players, Tuioti-Mariner, place-kicker Jameson Davis, safety Ray Polk and tight end Luke Walters will be held out of spring entirely.
Ten players have had surgery in the three months since the 2008 season ended.
Former CU DE and stud, Alfred Williams, is on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame. He was also on the ballot in 2008 but did not get in. In case you want to know the bios of the other candidates, check this out.
Only two more games left...that is all and then we can put closure on another tough season. Tonight, the CU men's basketball team will take on the Texas A&M Aggies in Boulder. The Aggies are still on the bubble for a birth into the dance. Right now, according to Joe Lunardi at ESPN.com, he has both Kansas State and Texas A&M out of the final 65 but still on the bubble as being ranked in the 69th - 72nd teams. If A&M and Kansas State can win out and win two in the Big 12 tournament, I think they can get in. Kansas State plays the Buffs in the season finale. That being said, nothing would make me happier than to ruin the chances of A&M tonight. With a CU victory, Texas A&M would probably have to win the whole Big 12 tournament to get in.
For a little more on the game, check out this article from the Boulder Daily Camera. Of course, we will be putting up a game thread which will be televised on ESPNU. The spread for tonight sits at 7 points in favor of the Aggies.