Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Giffin update: to knee or not to knee

According to Kingston Whig-Standard sports editor Mike Koreen, Queen's football head coach Pat Sheahan has said that star running back Mike Giffin's aforementioned knee injury is just a bad bruise. Here's the important parts:

"The Gaels (8-0) took a sigh of relief yesterday when testing showed Giffin suffered only a badly bruised right knee Saturday in the first quarter of a season-ending 38-22 win over the Waterloo Warriors.
'He would be doubtful [if the Gaels had a game] this week,' Gaels coach Pat Sheahan said. 'But with a week to recuperate, there is a reasonable chance he'll be able to play. I'm optimistic. We've got two weeks and we're just hoping there are no major setbacks. It's not season-ending or career-ending or anything like that.'
Because they finished first in the 10-team league, the Gaels will be spectators for the OUA quarter-final round this weekend. They will play host to the lowest-ranked quarter-final survivor in a semi-final on Nov. 1.
Sheahan expects to keep Giffin off the practice field for the majority of the week.
'All the ligaments are intact,' Sheahan said. 'Give him another week and he'll feel a lot better.'"

I'd be wary of taking this as a sign that all's well though. It must be a pretty bad bruise, considering how Giffin hobbled off the field last week and would be "doubtful" if the playoff game was this week. Even with the bye, Sheahan's only saying there's a "reasonable chance" he'll play. I'd interpret a reasonable chance as in the range of 40 to 80 per cent, which isn't overwhelmingly confidence-inspiring. As mentioned before, this team largely draws its strength from its offensive balance and its defence, so losing Giffin would not be the end of the world. It would be a significant blow, however; backups Marty Gordon and Jimmy Therrien are very capable, but they aren't as much of a threat as Giffin. With Giffin, teams have to pick their poison: either they crowd the box to shut down the run and let Danny Brannagan pick them apart through the air, or they play a coverage-focused defence and Giffin rumbles for 100+ yards. Gordon and Therrien are also more finesse runners than power backs, so you don't need as many guys to stop them. It often takes two to three tacklers to bring Giffin down.

Even if Giffin is back, his knee may not be at 100 per cent. We all know from Bobby Orr (and his Mastercard commercial [Sean Leahy, Going Five Hole]) just how dangerous knee damage can be. Yes, sports medicine has come a long way since then, but knee injuries are still a big concern. A knee injury to Giffin is especially concerning given that many of his biggest gains come from his ability to quickly react to a defense and make rapid cuts. If his knee isn't at full health, it's doubtful that he'll be that effective. We'll see what happens.

No comments:

Post a Comment