You often hear fans saying that, "IF we can avoid the injury bug this year...," you know how that goes. In reality, that's about the dumbest statement you'll ever hear. Truth is, football is a brutal sport, and injuries are a given. No matter what, you are going to have some injuries each year, some of those injuries will be very serious, and your performance will be hurting due to players' absence or being forced to play at less than one hundred per cent. And that's true if you are Southern California or Sacramento State.
Truth is, about all you can do is just hope that you don't have a ridiculous injury year like we had in 2004. You really can't expect too much more than a year of normal injury levels.
Two days ago, the injury bug hit us in a big way when Brian Motley broke his ankle. But we're far from the only ones who've suffered injuries at key positions.
In Knoxville, Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge broke the pinkie finger on his throwing hand the other day in practice as he was taking snaps. Considering a high-scoring shootout with Cal is likely in less 48 hours, this could be a major blow to the Vols.
In Gainesville, Florida left tackle Phil Trautwein, a senior team captain, suffered a stress fracture in his foot that may require surgery. The thinking at the moment is that surgery will be required and Trautwein will miss the entire year. Florida coach Urban Meyer was quoted as saying the injury was, "A big loss, huge loss."
In Auburn, there are almost too many injuries to list. Among others, linebacker Steve Gandy's career is now over due to concussions, defensive tackle Tez Doolittle is out for the year with a ruptured Achilles tendon, returner / running back Tristan Davis will miss several weeks with a broken foot, back-up quarterback Neil Caudle has a separated shoulder, and offensive lineman Leon Hart looks to play at well below 100 per cent.
In Fayetteville, wide receiver Marcus Monk will likely miss the first couple of games of the season due to a knee injury, and could miss more considering he had to go back in for a second operation. Tight end Ben Cleveland will miss the Troy game with neck injuries, and perhaps more, as apparently the Arkansas doctors haven't figured out exactly how to treat it at the moment.
In Baton Rouge, linebacker Jacob Cutrera apparently missed the MSU game with an elbow injury, and though All-SEC guard Will Arnold says he feels fine, it also doesn't seem like he's going to be playing that much, which is a clear and definite sign that he isn't fine.
And it's not just in the SEC either. For example...
In Los Angeles, starting USC center Matt Spanos tore his triceps muscle in practice, and will miss two-to-four weeks. In doing so, he may very well miss the crucial early season match-up on September 15th against Nebraska, in Lincoln.
The truth is that this is just a brutal game, and there is no way you can really "avoid" injuries. Regardless of what you do, or what luck you have, injuries will happen, and they will hurt you as a team. At the end of the day it is up to the team to be able to fill the absences of those injured with quality players, and it is of course the teams with the most quality depth that can do that the best. It's just another reason as to why football is the ultimate team sport.