Russ Thaler of Comcast SportsNet was joking Monday at Kettler Iceplex about the Intentional Mysteriousness of Alex Ovechkin’s injury. The only thing the Capitals will reveal is that Ovie has a “nagging” ailment. How, Thaler wondered, does that differ from the “undisclosed” harm recently suffered by Jason Arnott?
Sports are never funnier than when they try to conceal the anatomical reason for a player’s absence. In hockey, teams don’t usually get more detailed than “upper body” or “lower body” – as if an ingrown toenail were the same as a pulled groin. Pro football provides a bit more information, but how reliable is it? (There are times when I think the trainer just spins a big wheel, and whatever comes up – pinched nerve, sprained ankle, plantar fasciitis – that’s what goes down on the report.)
It’s all a big game. I asked Mike Knuble, who’s been around a while, what his favorite Nebulous Description of an injury was.
“When I was with New Jersey,” Knuble said, “Randy McKay was listed once with `general soreness.’ That’s the best one I’ve seen.” He smiled. “Like we all aren’t generally sore.”