UW Health Sports Medicine 

The Voice: Timing of crucial injuries tough to take

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgWatch sports long enough, and it can be easy to believe you have seen just about everything.

Then there was last Saturday, when the UW basketball team lost point guard Josh Gasser for the season with a torn ACL. A few hours later, the football team lost starting quarterback Joel Stave.

Never mind the fact the football game ended with a gut-wrenching loss to rival Michigan State. I am just wondering how many major college football and basketball programs lost a QB and a lead guard on the same day?

Before I go any further, it is unlikely any Maryland Terrapins followers will be shedding too many tears, at least when it comes to losing quarterbacks. The Terps have lost four -- count 'em, four -- signal callers this season. Word is the "next man in" will be either a converted linebacker or a converted tight end.

Then there is the case of South Carolina star running back Marcus Lattimore, who came back from a knee injury in 2011. During last Saturday's game with Tennessee, Lattimore hyperextended his right knee, damaging several ligaments. It is not a pretty video.

When these things happen, especially close to home, I find myself getting ticked off at the circumstances. It is a very real question to wonder how Stave and Gasser's injuries will affect the Badgers. But for now, I think about a promising quarterback who is hurt, and very tough junior guard who busted his tail the entire off season, only to find out he won't have a season -- at least this season.

Trust me, I understand there are a lot worse things that can happen to people. Unfortunately, lately, I have had the chance to see a lot of that up close. What I am talking about here is the sometimes cruel nature of sports, and how the fortunes of a team, and more specifically a player, can turn on a dime.

During this open week in the football schedule, coach Bret Bielema, his staff and his players will move forward. Everyone will do his part to support Danny O'Brien and Curt Phillips (think about what he has gone through in his career), and the Badgers will continue to prepare each day for the stretch drive of the regular season. They do so knowing a trip to Indianapolis is still in their hands.

As for basketball, Bo Ryan has proven to be a master of dealing with adversity. He is hardly a rookie at this stuff. His first year as Wisconsin's head man, Ryan lost promising guard Latrell Fleming because of a heart condition, and big man Andreas Helmigk to a knee injury. A couple of years later, Alando Tucker's season was cut short because of a broken foot. Late in the 2007 season, Brian Butch dislocated his elbow. A few years later, Jon Leuer missed half of the Big Ten season because of a broken wrist.

Watch sports long enough and it is wise to understand that sometimes things happen that seem unfair.

A few days ago, Badger fans were excited about an improving football team and its young quarterback. The basketball backers already knew about Josh Gasser, and were eager to see him play the point.

By Saturday night, the mood had changed. Yes, I too am curious at how the two teams will respond. History tells me they will have no shortage of resolve.

But above all else, I just wish the best for the injured players. Yes, they know the risks involved, and now they are going through the lousy part of athletics. I look forward to watching them get back in the arena, so they can once again experience the far more enjoyable side of sports.

ON WISCONSIN