Playing the Field: Of monkeys, men and Achilles tendons

Ilya Bryzgalov is a throwback to the days of tender, wackier NHL goaltenders.

What is the deal with the Achilles tendon nowadays?

Tearing up a knee has replaced the once-famed “sports hernia” and obligatory “tweaked hamstring” as the injury du jour in professional sports. The short list includes: the Phillies’ Ryan Howard, the Eagles’ Jason Peters, the Bulls’ Derrick Rose … and now, the Ravens’ Terrell Suggs joins the elite cub of those getting re-constructed knees.

Suggs claims he suffered the injury while participating in a conditioning run in Arizona. NFL insider Adam Schefter seems to disagree. No matter how Suggs incurred it, it’s a weird, growing epidemic. It’s become more commonplace than Kate Upton in an undersized bikini doing quirky dance moves.

Taking into account Suggs’ injury — if it was indeed basketball-related — we flash back to some odd sports injuries in recent memory:

1. Amare Stoudemire: The Knicks’ superstar thought it would be a good idea to give a glass-enclosed fire extinguisher the Buster Douglas treatment. He went on to miss a playoff game, while half the flesh hung off his hand. “That’s just stupid,” said TNT analyst Charles Barkley.

2. Sammy Sosa: The slugger’s massive (juiced-up?) lungs caused him to sneeze so hard (twice!) that it induced back spasms. He spent a month rehabbing.

3. Bill Gramatica: Speaking of ACLs gone wild. The former Cardinals kicker tore his right knee after celebrating a made field goal. The worst part? It wasn’t even a game-winner.

4. Lionel Simmons: Former La Salle standout never quite panned out in the NBA. However, missing two games due to tendinitis caused by playing Nintendo has to count for something, right?

5. Glenallen Hill:
Arachnophobia was a bad movie starring John Goodman. Hill could have taken the lead in the sequel, after suffering through a spider-filled nightmare, then falling out of bed and crashing through a coffee table.

Drink it in, Mr. Weaver

Jered Weaver tossed a no-hitter Wednesday night for the Angels. He allowed just two base-runners in nine innings in a 9-0 victory over Minnesota to notch the first no-no in Angels history since 1975.  

Jered’s dad was in the stands to drink it in. Literally.

Dave Weaver has a superstition when his son pitches: he doesn’t eat dinner. That doesn’t mean he’s watching his calories, though. The elder Weaver was spotted in the stands — and in the clubhouse after the game — chugging Bud Lights.

We definitely approve of this tradition. But, if we had a son who was a professional ballplayer (and we don’t, not that we know of) we would like to think we could at least afford a Heineken.

Bryz being Bryz

Goaltenders are eccentric, or they used to be. In hockey’s glory days, goalies would talk to their goalposts, refuse to play during full moons or knit in between periods (yes, Montreal’s Jacques Plantes actually did this).

While much of those bizarre rituals have been replaced simply by thoughtfully manicured masks, there is one throwback. The Flyers’ Ilya Bryzgalov. He made headlines during HBO’s 24/7 when he waxed about the universe being “humongous big.” Prior to the Penguins series, he told reporters that the only thing he was scared of was “bear in forest.” Now, after stopping 31 shots in a Game 2 loss vs. New Jersey, Bryz has provided one more gem of a soundbyte.

In a casual exchange with reporters, Bryzgalov said that if he wasn’t playing hockey, he would most likely be an astronaut. In his opinion, space is no place for monkeys. Our hope is that Bryz and the Flyers win the Stanley Cup and NASA — or maybe Metro — commissions a lunar expedition.


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