|LEEInks List: Devastating injuries to Boston athletes in past decade||02.12.13 at 11:51 am ET|
It’s been a rough few weeks for the Celtics. First it was Rajon Rondo going down with a season-ending ACL tear. Then Jared Sullinger was lost for the season with a back issue that will require surgery. Now, Leandro Barbosa appears to have suffered a serious knee injury in Monday night’s loss to the Bobcats that ended Boston’s seven-game winning streak.
Where do the C’s go from here? The team can take one of two paths. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge could stick with the team he has minus Rondo, Sullinger and Barbosa, maybe make a couple of small upgrades before the trade deadline, and hope for an unlikely long playoff run. Some are pushing for Ainge to “blow up” the team, make a significant trade or two (possibly involving career-long Celtic Paul Pierce or the emotional team leader Kevin Garnett) and look toward the organization’s future. This might lead to the team missing out on the postseason for the first time since the 2006-07 season (the year before the C’s acquired Garnett and Ray Allen).
Whatever Ainge, Doc Rivers and the organization decide to do, it seems that these injuries — especially to the All-Star Rondo — are a crushing blow to the team’s already slim chances at a deep playoff run.
This certainly isn’t the only time a Boston team has been bitten bad by the injury bug. With that in mind, here are 10 of the most devastating injuries affecting Boston sports teams in the last 10 years.
10. Patriots, 2005 — Rodney Harrison suffers season-ending knee injury
By 2005, Harrison was a 12-year NFL veteran, slightly old and injury-prone. In a Week 3 matchup vs. the Steelers, the safety tore his ACL, MCL and PCL and was done for the season. To add to that, offensive lineman Matt Light also was lost for the season during the same game. Harrison was the team’s veteran leader in the secondary and his absence was costly. The Patriots lost to the Broncos in the AFC divisional round that postseason.
9. Red Sox, 2010 — Jacoby Ellsbury misses majority of season with multiple issues
Injuries decimated the Red Sox at a historic pace in 2010, as 19 players combined for 24 stints on the disabled list, and many of them were key players on the roster. Ellsbury had three of those 24 stints. In April, Ellsbury was placed on the 15-day DL after colliding with third baseman Adrian Beltre and injuring his ribs. Ellsbury came back at the end of May but re-injured the ribs and went back on the disabled list. Again, Ellsbury rejoined the Red Sox in the beginning of August, but after a week and a half, Ellsbury was done for the season.
|Top Stories of 2011, No. 6: Jacoby Ellsbury’s MVP-caliber season||12.26.11 at 12:00 pm ET|
For the final 10 days of 2011, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. Our next entry in the countdown is No. 6: Jacoby Ellsbury’s MVP-caliber season.
Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NBA lockout
No. 9: NFL lockout
No. 8: Celtics’ playoff loss to Heat
No. 7: Patriots’ acquisitions of Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco
Throughout Red Sox spring training in March, there was plenty of buzz surrounding center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. After a 2010 season in which Ellsbury played in just 18 games due to five broken ribs, there were questions about whether Ellsbury could ever return to his pre-injury form, whether he was a capable leadoff hitter, and even whether he was fully devoted to the team.
But Ellsbury said he had no concerns about his ability to come back following an injury-truncated season.
“I’m not worried,” Ellsbury said of his health. “I’m not worried at all. It’s not like I’m coming off a major surgery or anything like that. If anything, [the ribs] should be stronger.
“Anytime you break something and let it heal, it will be stronger.”
And so, like his healed ribs, Ellsbury set about proving he too would heal from 2010 and come back stronger.
The 28-year-old had a strong spring training. He hit .355 with a .385 on-base percentage and a .565 slugging percentage. He also showed some pop, knocking out three home runs in his 20 spring training games.
But his Florida success did not translate into April triumphs. Ellsbury, like the Red Sox team in general, struggled at the beginning of the season. He was batting in the leadoff spot for the first six games of the year, when the Red Sox were winless and Ellsbury collected just four hits in 24 at-bats.
Then, Ellsbury dropped to the bottom of the order for the next few weeks. At first, he still struggled to get on base in the eighth or ninth spot in the order, but then the hits started coming.
|Top 10 of 2011: Boston Athletes of the Year||12.22.11 at 5:10 pm ET|
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was an obvious choice for WEEI’s 2011 Sportsman of the Year. With the veteran leading the team to its first Stanley Cup title since 1972 after a standout regular season, he stood above all other candidates.
That being the case, plenty of other Boston athletes deserve praise for memorable 2011 seasons in which records were broken, awards were won and individual performances were etched in fans’ memories. So, we present our list of the Top 10 Boston Athletes of 2011.
10. Keegan Bradley, PGA
A Vermont native who graduated from Hopkinton High School in Massachusetts, Bradley burst onto the scene in 2011 with his shocking victory at the PGA Championship, leading to his being named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. Bradley beat Jason Dufner in a playoff at the Atlanta Athletic Club on Aug. 14 and became only the third man to win a major on his first try.
9. Geoffrey Mutai, Boston Marathon
Sure, it’s only of passing interest to many Boston sports fans, but the best individual performance of 2011 might have been Mutai’s victory in Boston on April 18. The 29-year-old Kenyan not only shattered the Boston Marathon course record by almost three minutes, he ran the fastest marathon in history, blazing to the tape in 2:03:02. Mutai would go to win the New York City Marathon in November, also setting a course record there.
8. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
The Red Sox’ biggest offseason acquisition came to town with high expectations, and he did not disappoint. Gonzalez was a force throughout the season, abusing the Green Monster like he’d been hitting at Fenway his entire life and reminding Red Sox fans of the value of having a strong defensive presence at first base. Aside from home runs (27), he posted career highs in almost every other major offensive statistic, finishing the season with a league-best 213 hits, a .338 average, a .410 on-base percentage, a .548 slugging percentage and 117 RBIs. He received a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger for his efforts.
7. Rajon Rondo, Celtics
He might not be part of the Big Three, but Rondo is becoming the driving force for the Celtics offense and defense. That was evident last season, when the All-Star and NBA All-Defensive first-teamer averaged a double-double with 10.6 points and a career-high 11.2 assists a game while averaging 37.2 minutes (also a career high). Rondo was spectacular when it mattered, recording a triple-double (including a franchise-record 20 assists) in a Game 3 victory over the Knicks in the playoff’s opening round. In the second round against the Heat, he dislocated his left elbow during Game 3 but dramatically returned to the game and, barely using his injured left arm, managed to spark the C’s to their only victory of the series.
|LEEInks List: Memorable Red Sox September call-ups||09.10.11 at 7:48 am ET|
Every year on the first day of September, Major League Baseball rosters expand to 40, giving prospects a chance to make a name for themselves with the big club. Over the last 25 years, the Red Sox have had countless youngsters join the team and create either an opening chapter for a lasting legacy or just a brief glimpse into the type of player they might have been.
While this year’s candidates have yet to make an impact, here are 10 of the most memorable late-season Red Sox call-ups over the last 25 years, listed in chronological order.
Jody Reed, 1987
Long before there was Dustin Pedroia, there was Reed, another 5-foot-9, scrappy second baseman. Reed made his debut with the Red Sox in September 1987 and went 3-for-6 with two RBIs in his first start. His hot bat extended throughout his late-season stint, when he hit .300 with eight RBIs in nine games. Reed’s time as a call-up foreshadowed what would be a successful rookie campaign in 1988, when Reed hit .293 and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting while also helping the team to a division title. Reed, lost to the Rockies in the 1992 expansion draft (and then immediately traded to the Dodgers), lasted 11 seasons in the majors and now serves as the manager of the Dodgers’ rookie league team in Arizona.
Dwayne Hosey, 1995
In September of 1995, the Red Sox were looking to supplement the struggling outfield bats of Lee Tinsley and Willie McGee when they promoted Hosey to the big club. The switch-hitter lit it up at the plate, hitting .338 that September with three home runs and a 1.026 OPS. Hosey’s hot September helped him earn a spot on the team’s postseason roster, but the center fielder failed to perform on the bigger stage. He did not have a hit in 12 plate appearances against the Indians in the ALDS, and the Red Sox were swept out of the playoffs. Hosey’s career with the Sox was short-lived — he was traded to Texas in 1996 and released by the Rangers without ever having played a game for them. Hosey now is the batting coach for the Brewers’ Single-A team in Brevard County, Fla., and it looks like he could give dance lessons as well.
Nomar Garciaparra, 1996
Nomar made his Red Sox debut on Aug. 31, 1996, in the seventh inning of a game against the Athletics as a defensive replacement. The next day, Nomar hit a home run for his first major league hit and proceeded to go 3-for-5, scoring two runs and knocking in two. Nomar had multi-hit games in seven of his 22 starts and played so well in the field that he displaced the shortstop at the time, John Valentin, who moved over to third base. Nomar continued on to become a fan favorite in Boston and won the Rookie of the Year award in 1997. After 14 seasons in the majors and a career .313 batting average, he retired after the 2009 season.
|Top stories of 2010, No. 7: Red Sox derailed by injuries||12.25.10 at 10:51 am ET|
For the final 10 days of 2010, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year. In what was a memorable 12 months for all four of Boston’s major professional teams, there was a plethora of compelling storylines. Our next entry in the countdown is No. 7: The Red Sox’ injury-plagued lost season.
Also, make sure to cast your vote in WEEI.com’s poll for the 2010 Boston Athlete of the Year.
The 2010 Red Sox season was supposed to be predicated on two traits: pitching and defense. All offseason long, Theo Epstein raved about those qualities as the team signed Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and John Lackey while letting Jason Bay sign with the Mets.
There was only one problem with Epstein’s plan. He could not have factored in the most important characteristic of the 2010 squad: injured, early and often.
Within the first two weeks of the season, the Red Sox already had suffered their first casualties of the season when two-thirds of their outfield went on the disabled list. Things would only get worse, as the team lost three starting pitchers to the DL, four catchers were sidelined and two of the most reliable and productive members of the lineup, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, missed large parts of the season.
Things became so bad that they were almost laughable. The Red Sox led the league in total trips to the DL with 23, and finished fourth overall with over 1,050 games lost to the DL and more than $20 million lost due to injury. Their 89-73 record look that much more impressive considering the Red Sox lost most of their most important players rather than just a slew of no-names.
Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka each missed five or more starts and those in the bullpen suffered myriad injuries. Victor Martinez missed just 23 games on the disabled list, a relative victory for a team of the walking injured. A torn thumb muscle forced Youkilis to ride the pine for over 60 games and Pedroia’s broken foot kept him out for more than half the season. Cameron, the most disappointing of the new acquisitions, managed just 162 at-bats. But the biggest exemplar of all the injuries and frustration of the 2010 season was Jacoby Ellsbury.
With Cameron’s addition, Ellsbury was supposed to take over left field duties and potentially become an even scarier threat on the base paths. The 26-year-old, who had led the league in steals in back-to-back seasons with 120 combined steals, was drawing very favorable praise during spring training.
|Sox did not discuss moving Ellsbury||08.01.10 at 1:16 am ET|
According to multiple major league sources, the Padres never contacted the Red Sox to discuss the availability of outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. In fact, according to one of those sources, no team contacted the Sox about Ellsbury, nor would the Sox have considered a deal for the 26-year-old barring what was characterized as a massive return.
Ellsbury, after playing three rehab games in the Gulf Coast League this week, played in his first rehab contest with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. He went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles while playing center field. Ellsbury has played in just nine games this year, but is nearing a return to the Red Sox in his recovery from the broken ribs endured earlier this year.
“I can’t give you an exact timetable [for his return],” said GM Theo Epstein. “We want to make sure he’s ready to hit. Last time he came back, I think it took him a little while to get going with the bat and get his timing down. As much as we need him back here, we don’t want to rush him back here before he’s ready to hit. We’re going to be aggressive with it, day to day depending on how he feels and how ready he looks to come up and compete.”
|Ellsbury to Atlanta?||07.31.10 at 2:58 pm ET|
MLB insider Brent Gambill has posted on his Twitter feed that the Red Sox might be talking to the Braves about shipping out Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury has missed all but nine games this season after fracturing several ribs in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre back in April. He is scheduled to play for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday night in the next phase of his rehab assignment.
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