Injury bug bites back - Tucson Local Media: Sports

Injury bug bites back

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Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 11:00 pm

Yo, where my felons at?

Spurned and squealing former NBA referee Tim Donaghy can’t blame his ex-colleagues for drawing out Tiger Woods’ red-shirt encore into a three-day orgy of television revenues.

Only El Tigre could — temporarily — extinguish the scandalous, flaming moat currently encircling the NBA’s island fortress like a Super Mario Brothers hazard.  

Well, we in the media sure do love our comeback stories.

At some point, you have to feel bad for Rocco Mediate, though, who took Nike’s meal ticket to the mat over 91 holes.  

My roommate rooted the underdog all the way during the U.S Open, and I couldn’t blame him.  Every aspect of Tiger’s shots earned constant recap, while Rocco’s approach shots were greeted with fade-outs.

No journalists were able to secure interviews with Tiger’s knee cartilage, thankfully.  

Had they, my Saturday night sushi partner would’ve paid even less attention to whatever I blithered about over sake, as magical putts snaked magnetically toward the cup on the Hi-Def screen overhead.

Forget about the Military Commissions Act. Woods’ patella threatens to imprison us all.

Poor Rocco and his efforts — not to mention his own comeback from ruptured disks and back surgery, even — couldn’t outshine the Tiger Grimace Meter that some network technician hastily assembled for the telecast.

Which makes me ask: Exactly when are we supposed to get tired of hearing about a player’s injury?  

To adopt the athletic philosophy, aren’t we supposed to focus on the competition itself at some point?

Granted, last weekend was Woods’ first time on the grass post-op.  And I know I just wrote about a prep athlete undergoing shoulder surgery.  

But eventually, it’s got to come down to the game.

The Kenzie Fowler story is a great example.  

No matter what achievement or context, you can’t write a story about the Softball Siren now without breaking thoracic outlet syndrome down to layman’s terms, or chronicling her life-saving surgery.

Like Journey without Steve Perry, something’s missing from the mix.  

Those medical hurdles, once hurdled, get cemented into the legend.

There’s no getting around the fact. Take Jim Abbott for example.

A state champ quarterback during his prep years, Abbott threw nearly 1,000 strikeouts over a 10-year career with four major-league teams.

Still, most bar conversations tend to enshrine him as “that one pitcher, born without a right hand.”

Right on time, our page designer, — encyclopedic on the NBA, yet short on MLB lore — just wondered aloud whether Abbott threw with his mouth.

 And though Robert Redford’s triumphantly blood-stained uniform made a lasting impression in The Natural, you never got any comments from the opposing pitcher.

That’s just how it goes. You’ve got to love a comeback kid.

Perhaps when Hollywood cuts The Tim Donaghy Story, they’ll play up his ability to overcome criminally bad eyesight.

Still, part of me wonders whether Woods and Fowler — now appearing in the same sentence — would rather reporters just focus on the game at hand, at this point?

I’m sure their competitors, like Mediate, surmise as much.  

Because it feels misdemeanor to let his weekend’s performance sink into the swamps of Tiger bait.

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