Thursday, February 25, 2010

Quickie: Where Expectations Meet Injuries

I love mashing up topics for my SN column lead, but it really doesn't lend itself to attaching itself to a particular story. For example, I was struck by two very separate pieces of news:

Lindsey Vonn's injury when she fell in yesterday's race, and Robbie Hummel's knee injury in Purdue's win.

I want to tie them back to expectations: Vonn was expected to compete for five medals -- now she might not even get through 4 races, let alone race her 5th. And Purdue is on the short list for bonafide Final Four contenders... that is, if Hummel is healthy. Without him? Not so much.

It's a reality in sports -- just ask Texas football fans about Colt McCoy in the national title game -- and it feels like one of the more unfair bits of random luck.

By all accounts, this should be One Of Those Years for Purdue -- a program for whom Those Years don't come along very often. If Hummel is healthy, they're in it. If not: Tough luck.

Vonn is in a slightly better position: She already has a dramatic gold -- her first race of the Games -- and a bronze, to go with her two spills. Still: Not quite "cover" worthy.

(It won't matter: If the US hockey team wins gold, they will be next week's cover. They better hope no one gets unexpectedly injured.)

More in today's column:
*Sucks to be Russia hockey.
*Canada: Better off for US loss?
*Combine: All about Bradford
*Kobe: Not ready for back-to-backers?
*Bubble pops for Dayton, San Diego St?

Complete column here. More later.

-- D.S.

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