Blame it on the Injuries

When it rains, it pours, and when it comes to injuries in Chicago during the 2011-2012 NFL, NBA and NHL seasons, it certainly poured. A PhotoShop depicting Chicago’s fallen athletes with the caption “Somebody please just f***ing kill me” circulated the net like wildfire after Joakim Noah’s ankle sprain put the final nail in the Bulls playoff coffin. Although I’ve slowly talked myself off the edge of the bridge and came to terms with the fact that I will have to be content with Chicago baseball until September, I couldn’t help but go back to the injury that started them all, Jay Cutler’s broken thumb, and chronologically review every injury that befell on our beloved teams since.

Jay Cutler

November 20, 2011-Chicago Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler broke his right thumb with 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of a 31-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers. Cutler suffered the injury while attempting to make a tackle on Chargers’ Antonie Cason, who intercepted a pass. Despite the injury, Cutler completed the game, but wasn’t to be seen again the remainder of regular season as he underwent surgery.

Caleb Hanie took over the starting quarterback position and inherited a 7-3 record from Cutler, who was on pace to taking the Bears to the playoffs. However, Hanie managed to lose 5 of the remaining 6 games, which prematurely concluded the Bears season with an 8-8 record.

Matt Forte

December 4, 2011-In all fairness, Haine had little chance at a successful playoff push after Matt Forte went down with an MCL sprain in his right knee. At the time, Forte lead the Bears in receptions, and was arguably one of the most versatile running backs in the league.

Forte’s injury came just two weeks after Cutler left the field for the season and just two weeks prior to WR Johnny Knox’ back-breaking injury. The star RB was predicted to return to the lineup before the end of the season, but with a four game losing streak heading into the undefeated Packers’ den on Christmas, was anybody really expecting any miracles?

Johnny Knox

December 18, 2011-Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox was bent backwards in the most unnatural and graphic way that I’ve ever seen and suffered a cracked facet joint in his spinal column in a 14-38 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

There was little hope for Bears’ nation after three star athletes were taken out in various ways.

Daniel Carcillo

January 2, 2012-Only a day after the Bears season was laid to rest, the Chicago injury train rolled right over into hockey. Blackhawks newly acquired agitator Daniel Carcillo suffered a torn ACL when finishing a devastating hit on Tom Gilbert of the Edmonton Oilers. Both players suffered injuries on the play and Carcillo received a game-changing five-minute major penalty, as well as a 7 game suspension for the hit.

Although Carcillo was not a high-scoring superstar, he was often successfully utilized on the top two lines as a hard checking agitator who opened up the ice for the likes of Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane to go to work, and was on pace to posting career highs in points and career lows in PIMs. The ‘Hawks had a 24-10-4 record with Car Bomb in the lineup and the noggins of Kane and Jonathan Toews went unscathed.

It’s hard to speculate what could have been had Carcillo not suffered a season ending injury, but I’m willing to bet Sharks Captain Joe Thornton wouldn’t have been so quick to punch Toews in the back of the head.

Jonathan Toews

February 10, 2012? -It’s hard to pin point the exact date when Blackhawks Captain suffered a concussion, but many speculate the injury was sustained in San Jose when Thornton knocked off Toew’s helmet and repeatedly punched him in the head by the players’ benches. At the time, the Hawks were in the midst of the infamous nine-game losing streak, which certainly made Toews hesitate to disclose his symptoms and he was officially placed on IR on February 21st (five games later).

The Captain was sidelined for 20 games and wasn’t to be seen again till Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Marian Hossa

April 17, 2012-Just as the Captain returns, another elite forward bites the ice, so to speak. Marian Hossa was on the receiving end of an illegal hit from Coyotes’ goon Raffi Torres and left Game 3 on a stretcher. Torres was not penalized on the ice for the hit and was allowed to stay in the game, but he did receive a 25-game suspension from the league, which he recently appealed.

As far as Hossa’s recovery goes, only time will tell. The versatile 6’1 210lb forward was last reported to be walking.

Derrick Rose

April 28, 2012-As the Blackhawks made an early playoff exit, the Chicago Bulls were just beginning their playoff run with a series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Hopes were high, and many disappointed ‘Hawks fans were able to divert their grief and channel it into positive energy for Chicago’s NBA team. Mouths were watering at the seemingly inevitable Eastern Conference Finals meeting between the Bulls and Miami Heat…and then Derrick Rose tore his ACL in Game 1.

The former league MVP, and undeniable anchor of the Bulls will face 8-12 month of recovery time and intensive rehab.

Joakim Noah

May 4, 2012-To add injury to injury, one of the Bulls’ biggest defensive contributors Joakim Noah left Game 3 with an ankle sprain, and inevitably left his team in a 2-1 series deficit to the 76ers. Noah was averaging 15.0 PPG and 9.3 RPG in the 2012 postseason, and had 12 points and seven rebounds when he left Game 3.

Despite their depth and winning record in the many absences of Rose due to various injuries throughout the regular season, a captain-less playoff series proved to be too much for the bench to handle.

Not that it’s all over, I’m left with one request. Change the shoes, change the Gatorade, change the helmets, change the equipment, or whatever it is that needs changing before the start of next season because I don’t think Chicago can handle another injury plagued year.

Oh, and an O-line for Cutler would probably be helpful too.

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