With a torn triceps muscle, Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis’ year on the gridiron has officially ended. The magnitude of this injury is evident in two scenarios:
- Lewis is 37 years old, is a high-impact player, and has had a long, tough 17-year career in one of the hardest hitting positions in football. If you add up all of this, you can see that this season may have been the last dance for the future Hall-of-Famer.
- Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs has been brought back early in a very risky attempt to supplement the loss of Lewis. Suggs, who was out post-surgery with his own major injury (a torn Achilles tendon), is being microscopically observed by fans, coaches, and officials under these circumstances. If he re-aggravates his injury and gets pulled from activity, the Ravens can kiss their hope of making it to the playoffs goodbye.
These injuries have left the Ravens’ defense severely compromised. This is what happens when devastating sports injuries occur. A serious injury may not only derail the career of an athlete, it can affect the teammates individually and a team as a whole. Sometimes, injuries can even leave the sports’ culture of an entire city teetering unpredictably.
Take a look at Denver Nugget’s point guard Julyan Stone. Stone is recovering from hip surgery; therefore, he is unable to play until January, which puts a little bit of a dent in the regular season. In this case, the highly capable Ty Lawson and Andre Miller are also at point guard for the Nuggets, so it would appear that Denver is all right for the moment. However, remember that Lawson suffered a nasty ankle sprain at the tail end of last season. Although fully healed, if it does happen to reoccur, the Nuggets would have a tough row to hoe with only one usable point guard on the roster.
We can also look at the Broncos’ Peyton Manning, whose neck ailments have affected not one but two teams. Manning sat out the entire 2011 season as his last with the Colts, and the Colts have STILL not recovered at just 3 and 3 in 2012. Now that Manning is in Denver, the state of incapacity that his neck injury caused him is evident. Manning was kept from even warming up for an entire year. He’s rusty, leaving the struggling Broncos 3 and 3 as well. (3 and 3 are apparently what happens when you’re missing a Manning.) We’re beginning to see improvement, though, with several stunning second-half Peyton performances as his heart is pulling his body back into shape. As the rust wears off, many analysts are picking Denver for the playoffs after all. Apparently Manning’s head isn’t the only thing he’s carrying on his shoulders.
These injuries are not the result of safety issues. There were no avoidable incidents of trauma, such as a nasty headshot, that advances in safety equipment could have prevented. They were simple (although massive) injuries and/or accumulated wear-and-tear that anyone who engages in strenuous physical activity could have suffered. Bottom line: this stuff hurts, and when you do it for a living, it catches up to you eventually.