Whenever you talk about the prospects for a team or a player during the upcoming season, the discussion always starts with two words:
Nothing can derail a season and demoralize a player more than an injury, and usually injuries happen during the heat of competition.
A basketball player lands on a guy's foot and twists his ankle. A baseball player gets hit with a pitch and breaks his hand. A football or hockey player gets laid out and gets a concussion.
Those injuries we can deal with. What we can't deal with is when a player gets injured doing something stupid.
Luckily for us, there are plenty of instances of boneheaded injuries in the sports world. Here are the top 50.
Yankees pitcher David Cone was just trying to pet his mother's dog during the 1998 season. Instead, the Jack Russell terrier turned on him and bit his pitching hand, causing him to miss a start.
Luckily for the Yankees, Cone's injury allowed them to call up "El Duque" Orlando Hernandez from the minors. Hernandez stayed with the club and even helped pitch them to the World Series title that season.
Being left-handed leads to all sorts of problems. The world is made for righties, so lefties have difficulty performing even the easiest of tasks.
I'm not sure if it had anything to do with him being left-handed, but Angels pitcher Allen Watson cut the wrist on his pitching arm while trying to open a bottle of beer.
We're not sure how many beers Watson had before the incident, but I'm guessing he had a few.
A recent entrant into the Dumb Sports Injuries Hall of Fame is Kim Clijsters, a once top-ranked women's tennis player.
Clijsters injured her ankle when she stepped on someone's foot while wearing high heels at her cousin's wedding, an injury that could cause her to miss the French Open in six weeks.
This is a lesson for all you wedding goers out there: You have to practice the Chicken Dance. You can't just show up at a wedding unrehearsed and expect to execute it perfectly.
Clearly, someone could get hurt.
We all remember the epic home-run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1999. What I remember, however, is when Sammy Sosa injured himself sneezing in 2004.
Apparently Sosa had a couple of hearty sneezes before the game, which triggered back spasms and caused him to miss the game.
Sosa explained: "It would have been better if I had hit off the wall or we have a fight or something, but this ... you know what I mean? What can you do? Some things in life you cannot control. This is strange that it happened."
You know what was also strange? That Sosa went from the Incredible Hulk to about 165 pounds immediately after the MLB started testing for steroids.
No word on whether a sneeze also caused all the color to escape from Sammy's skin.
Clint Barmes got off to a hot start in his rookie season for the Rockies in 2005. Then it all came crashing down...literally.
Barmes was attempting to carry a load of deer meat given to him by teammate Todd Helton when Barmes fell and broke his collarbone.
Obviously he didn't play Oregon Trail, or else he would have known that even if you kill 300 pounds worth of meat, you can only carry 100 pounds back.
I don't know when the tradition of the dogpile came about, but for some reason players think the best way to celebrate a victory is to jump on top of each other.
Freudian interpretations aside, it really is a dangerous way to show your happiness and Kendry Morales (who now for some reason goes by Kendrys) found out the hard way in 2010.
Celebrating a walk-off grand slam, the Angels slugger jumped in the air with the hopes of landing on home plate but instead landed on a teammate's foot.
The cheers slowly turned into a hush as Angels fans saw their star writhing in pain on the dirt.
Morales broke his leg and missed the enitre 2010 season and has yet to make an appearance in 2011.
But it sure was a great celebration...
Ever wonder what makes NFL flags fall to the ground when they're thrown? Orlando Brown knows.
That's because the Browns offensive lineman was hit in the eye with the weighted end of a penalty flag (that one was weighted with BBs...now they use sand) thrown by referee Jeff Tripplette during a game in 1999.
Brown reacted by getting up and shoving the referee, which earned a suspension. It wasn't the first battle that Brown would have with the NFL.
He sued the NFL for the damage caused to his eye, which prematurely ended his career. The case was settled out of court and Brown was awarded $50 million.
Champagne has been the celebratory drink of choice for hundreds of years, but you have to be careful with that bottle.
Skier Lindsey Vonn picked up a bottle of bubbly to celebrate her downhill victory in 2009. Unfortunately, the bottle she picked up was broken and she sliced a tendon in her thumb.
The cut was bad enough to keep her out of the rest of the week's events. I wonder if it was even good champagne or some cheap American stuff.
Technically, all champagne comes from France. Otherwise it's just a sparkling white wine.
For some reason, all athletes think they can play golf. As Charles Barkley has clearly displayed, bad things can happen when NBA or NFL players hit the links.
Receiver Derrick Mason learned the hard way when he gripped his club during a charity golf tournament. Mason rared back, swung and ended up breaking his wrist on a routine drive.
Mason asked for a mulligan, but was mercifully denied.
You can't try to control a player's passion. Guys have been known to take out their frustrations on water coolers, clubhouse showers and countless pieces of equipment.
You just have to hope that when the player erupts he manages not to hurt himself. Such was not the case with Carlos Quentin who, in 2009 while leading the league in home runs, got frustrated after fouling off a pitch and punched his bat.
The slugger ended up breaking his wrist and missed most of the regular season.
I mean, if you're going to punch your bat at least make sure the at-bat is over.
Bret Barberie is known more for being married to Jillian Barberie than for his days as an MLB player.
He did make headlines, however, when he decided to make himself some spicy nachos. He loaded some tortilla chips up with spicy peppers and hot sauce then indulged himself.
Unfortunately the infielder forgot to wash his hands before putting his contact lenses in and scorched his retinas.
Barberie missed the game and still shutters when he sees someone eating nachos at the ball park.
The shaving cream pie in the face has been a long-time gag in the major leagues. In 2009, thanks to the Yankees, the celebration was at the top of its popularity.
Marlins rookie Chris Coghlan decided to get in on the action and shove a pie in the face of teammate Wes Helms, who had just knocked in the game-winning RBI.
Coghlan completed the pie, but tore his meniscus in the process.
Now all he can eat is humble pie.
Milton Bradley felt the need to voice his concerns over a call made by the first-base umpire while he was playing with the Padres.
It started off innocently enough, but it soon erupted into an all-out scuffle. Bradley was so heated that he needed to be restrained by manager Bud Black. While being restrained, Bradley twisted his knee awkwardly and ended up tearing his ACL.
We feel bad for Bradley because he's always been a team player who's never gotten into any sort of trouble before.
Phil Jackson once described forward Vladimir Radmanovic as a "space cadet" and he certainly lived up to his nickname more than once.
Most notably, Radmanovic went snowboarding over All-Star Weekend (which was a direct violation of his contract), fell and separated his shoulder, and then lied about it.
Radmanovic said that he slipped on some ice while bringing his friends coffee. That lie was sniffed out just as quickly as Radmanovic's inability to run the triangle offense.
He was soon traded away into exile in Charlotte.
Wade Boggs is one of the best hitters of all-time, and also apparently has the highest alcohol tolerance in the history of mankind.
Boggs is a down-home country boy and he loves to wear his cowboy boots. Unfortunately, one day putting them on proved to be more of a task than he thought.
Boggs strained his back while leaning down to put them on and was forced to miss a few games.
I'm sure he knew just how to numb the pain.
Tennis, along with golf, is one of the most frustrating sports. It seems so simple...just hit the ball over the net into a large space. Turns out, it's not so easy.
I used to play with my brother and he had quite a temper. When he'd hit a shot into the net, I knew it was only a matter of time before the racket went flying across the court.
Apparently my brother was much better at channeling his anger than Mikhail Youzhny. I mean, throwing a racket is one thing, but smashing your head repeatedly until you bleed? Something tells me anger management classes were scheduled before the match was over.
If only he hit the ball as hard as he hit his head, he could have been a top player.
Every workplace has to put on one of those workman's comp seminars where they teach you how to lift boxes.
What do they always say? Bend from the knees, not from the back.
Apparently the MLB either doesn't have one of these seminars or Brandon Inge wasn't paying attention. Inge went down to pick up his 3-year old daughter's pillow one day and came up with a strained oblique which landed him on the DL.
Inge claims that the injury was bugging him for a while and that the pillow incident just sent it over the top, but what else would a wuss who can't lift a pillow say?
If you follow baseball, you know that there is one certainty: J.D. Drew will be injured at some point during the season.
While playing for the Braves, Drew was leading the team with 28 home runs and 76 RBI when he realized: "Hey, I haven't been injured yet this year!"
One day during batting practice, Drew jumped and hit his head on the dugout. He tried to hide the injury, but he couldn't stop the bleeding and had to be transported to the local hospital for stitches.
Drew missed the game, but luckily the injury streak was kept alive. It's now being challenged by Andrew Bynum.
OK, so it's not really a dumb injury, but it's embarrassing nonetheless. George Brett (of the infamous pine tar incident) was forced to miss a World Series game in 1980 due to a serious bout with hemorrhoids.
Although in true "they don't build 'em like they used to" fashion, Brett had a minor surgery and returned for the rest of the series.
Not surprisingly, when asked to describe Brett's hitting style, pitchers were known to call him "a real pain in the ass."
Oft-troubled and extremely talented receiver Brandon Marshall was in the headlines for an injury in 2008. During the offseason, the 6'4", 230-pound star nicknamed "The Beast" suffered lacerations on his right forearm.
Marshall said that he slipped on a McDonald's wrapper on the floor of his house and, while trying to brace his fall, put his arm through the television set.
I guess in 2008 he wasn't yet rocking the flat screen.
Doubts were raised about Marshall's story, but since nothing else came out we have to believe him and put him on the list of all-time dumbest injuries.
Scrabble is a board game that tests our mental skill and may sometimes leave our brains hurting, but goalkeeper Lionel Letizi proved that the game can also lead to physical injury.
Letizi was playing a game of Scrabble and one of the tiles fell to the floor. The easy solution, of course, was to bend down and pick it up. Unfortunately, however, when Letizi bent down he strained a muscle in his back which caused him to miss his next game.
To add insult to injury, Letizi's opponent won the game by placing down the letters, M-O-R-O-N.
It's hard for Americans to grasp the importance of the World Cup in other countries. Just imagine if the Super Bowl only happened once every four years.
So if a European soccer player is going to miss the World Cup, he better have a seriously good reason. Spanish goalie Santiago Canizares's reason wasn't so good in 2002.
Canizares had to miss the entire tournament because he dropped a bottle of aftershave on his foot. The bottle broke, lacerating a tendon in his foot.
Look on the bright side. People have had much worse injuries from aftershave.
Ken Griffey, Jr. was one of the greatest players of all-time before injuries derailed his career. While Junior usually had issues with his hamstrings, this injury in particular has to stand out.
Griffey was forced to miss a game when he had an unexpected malfunction with his protective wear. Griffey's cup slipped and ended up pinching his testicle, causing him to miss a game.
The good news is that afterwards he had an absolutely heavenly singing voice.
In yet another frustration-related injury, Rockies franchise shortstop Troy Tulowitzki unleashed his fury on his bat after being taken out of the game in the seventh inning.
Tulo pounded his maple bat into the ground and it shattered, slicing his hand and sending him to the DL.
If this whole baseball thing doesn't work out for him, he always has a career as a rock star waiting for him.
Offseason workouts are a double-edged sword. On one hand, you want your players to be in the best shape possible for the beginning of the season. On the other hand, the more a player works out the more likely he is to get hurt.
The Astros found this out the hard way in 1999, when outfielder Moises Alou tore his ACL after falling off a treadmill.
You should have to pass some sort of coordination test before you're allowed to participate in unsupervised offseason workouts.
I humbly volunteer to conduct these tryouts.
When All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent broke his wrist in 2002, he shamefully admitted that he sustained the injury while washing his truck at a self-serve car wash.
The Giants were buying the story from Kent, who is an avid motorcycle buff, and they conducted an investigation.
Had Kent injured himself on a motorcycle instead of washing his car it would have been a direct violation of his contract.
Since no clear evidence was found, we're going to stick with the story that Kent gave and call him an idiot for the rest of our lives.
We all know about NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson's need for speed. Well he decided to display it on the golf course in 2006.
Johnson and his buddies were having some fun on a golf cart when he decided it would be a good idea to get on the roof of the moving vehicle.
Of course, he fell and broke his wrist and then lied about it until the truth came out. Pretty standard.
I don't know if I've ever met someone who likes the sound that bagpipes make. The only time I've really heard them was in So I Married An Axe Murderer, and it was dreadful.
Former Maple Leaf Glenn Healy feels quite differently, and was famous for playing the bagpipes in his days in Toronto.
Unfortunately, one day Healey was changing the pipes on his "instrument" and sliced his hand. Luckily it was in the offseason, but he had to miss a few jam sessions with other pipers.
Mayonnaise is not good for you. In fact, it kind of creeps me out.
Chelsea goalkeeper Dave Beasant would have been better off if he shared my aversion since, in 1993, he was forced to miss time after cutting a tendon in his big toe by dropping a large glass jar of mayo on top if it.
On top of the injury, now Beasant has to suffer the embarrassment of being asked "you want mayo on that?" every time he goes to Subway.
I know what you're thinking, but Farnsworth didn't run into the stands a la Ron Artest and drop kick a member of the audience...although it wouldn't really surprise me.
The fan Farnsworth kicked was of the electric variety, and it left him with a sprained and bruised right knee in 2004 while pitching for the Cubs.
Farnsworth was upset because he gave up six runs in the ninth inning to lose the game for the Cubs, so maybe going on the DL was the best thing for him and the team.
Nothing says "I'm rich" like driving around in a brand new top-of-the-line sports car. So when soccer player Alan Wright got enough money, that's exactly what he did.
He bought a Ferrari and drove it around for a month. After a while, he realized that his knee was starting to bug him and wondered why.
Turns out that Wright, who stands about 5'4", was straining to reach the gas pedal on his Ferrari. So every time he accelerated, he was straining his knee.
Unfortunately, he had to say goodbye to the $200,000 car and traded it in for a team-sponsored Rover.
Personally, I would have gone with the blocks on my feet like Short Round before giving up the Ferrari.
Going down the stairs can be a tricky thing for some people. Throw a dog in the mix and it's nearly impossible to navigate the descent without injury.
You'd think an NFL-caliber athlete would be able to handle it, but that wasn't the case for Broncos QB Brian Griese, who injured his ankle when he was tripped by his dog while walking down the stairs.
If you talk to people around Denver or Michigan, where Griese went to college and was arrested for destroying a bar window, they'll tell you that the injury was most likely the result of drunken antics.
But Griese's blaming Lassie so we'll go with his version.
Oliver Perez was once one of the best young pitchers in baseball. With his career in a tailspin, at least he can always look back and laugh on one of his injuries.
Perez was frustrated after a poor outing for the Pirates in 2005 and needed to take it out on something. He walked through the dugout into the clubhouse, looking for something to unload upon.
The poor recipient of his anger happened to be the laundry cart, which Perez kicked, breaking his toe in the process. The incident landed Perez on the DL.
The laundry cart played out the rest of its career and retired in 2008.
Video games have come a long way. Before we had Wii and XBox 360 and PSP, the most popular gaming device in the world was a handheld Nintendo product called GameBoy.
It allowed kids (and adults) to play video games without restrictions, as the portable console allowed them to play without a television set.
In 1991, Kings rookie Lionel Simmons fell in love with the device and played it so much that he developed tendinitis in his left wrist and forearm and had to miss a few games.
The good news? More time to play GameBoy.
Anybody who says Guitar Hero is a stupid game hasn't played it for six hours while getting drunk with his buddies.
Not sure if flamethrower Joel Zumaya was drinking at the time, but the Tigers reliever had to miss three games of the ALCS after hurting his wrist and forearm while playing the Playstation game, Guitar Hero.
Apparently Zumaya could throw 103-mph but had difficulty playing the red-green-yellow-orange-orange combination in a solo during Boston's More Than a Feeling.
I think we can all relate to this one. Nothing is more frustrating than buying a brand new DVD, rushing home to watch it, and realizing that it's harder to get into than a Justin Bieber concert.
Phillies pitcher Adam Eaton was having the same problem when he turned to the most obvious solution: a paring knife from his kitchen.
Needless to say things did not turn out well. Eaton ended up stabbing himself in the stomach and required stitches.
The good news is that he got the DVD open and watched Big Momma's House all night long.
Baseball players are an inquisitive bunch. Most people enjoy the cool air that comes out of an air conditioner without asking the important question: Why?
Orioles pitcher Mark Smith wanted to get to the bottom of how the air conditioning unit worked, so he did what any rational human being would do. He stuck his hand down there.
Smith hurt his hand and was unavailable for a few days.
A small price to pay for knowledge.
Glenallen Hill is one of my all-time favorite hitters, mostly because he hit some of the longest home runs I've ever seen. He's also known for having one of the most infamous injuries of all-time.
Hill is deathly afraid of spiders. Not just real ones, apparently, but also the imaginary variety.
In the middle of an arachnid-themed nightmare, Hill awoke in terror and crashed through a glass table next to his bed.
From then on, Hill wore a special wig designed to scare away the eight-legged freaks.
There's no better way to bond with your coaches than to engage in a wrestling match on the field.
At least that's what hot-tempered Rays reliever Grant Balfour seemed to think. Balfour injured his left side and had to be placed on the DL after doing his best WWE impersonation with pitching coach Jim Hickey.
You could understand something like this happening between goofball relievers with nothing better to do. But the coach?
Knowing Balfour's past, it's probable that Hickey was just messing around and Balfour started taking things way to seriously and actually tried to murder Hickey. At that point it was just self-defense.
As men we tend to think that we can fix anything. We never want to take medicine when we're sick and we certainly don't want to go to the doctor when we get hurt.
The latter is even more true for athletes, who know that if they do see the doctor, most likely they will be forced to sit out a few games.
This had to be what was going through soccer player Darius Vassell's mind when he decided to play doctor on himself.
Vassell's toe was swollen, so he decided to best way to alleviate the pressure was to take a drill and put a hole in his toenail. Of course this only made things worse, causing a nasty infection in the toe which caused him to miss a few games.
The good news is they're making a film about the agonizing self-mutilation called 127 Seconds.
Kevin Mitchell is known for making one of the most memorable catches in baseball history. He's also known for one of the dumbest injuries.
Mitchell once strained an abdominal muscle vomiting, but that's not the one I'm talking about.
The one I'm talking about is when Mitchell put a donut in the microwave for too long, bit into it, and broke his tooth.
I don't have much experience reheating donuts so I'm not sure how long you're supposed to put it in for, but Mitchell must have nuked the crap out of that thing to get it hard enough to break a tooth.
Kickers are already looked down upon by other players, so this couldn't have helped.
Bill Gramatica hit a clutch field goal for the Arizona Cardinals in 2001, so he celebrated like any other player would.
Well, not like any other player.
Gramatica jumped about four inches off the ground, apparently three inches higher than he'd ever jumped, and the impact of the fall caused him to tear the ACL in his knee.
I wish I could say this is the only celebration-related injury on this list...but alas...
As the story goes, Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence was entertaining "a friend' in the hot tub of his residence in Florida during spring training in 2008.
Let's hope that his "friend" was a girl because two dudes in a hot tub is not cool...unless you're into that sort of thing. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Anyway, Pence got out of the hot tub and ran to the house to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately, standing in his way was a seven-foot tall glass sliding door.
Apparently Pence didn't know his friend had closed the door and Pence ran right through it, causing lacerations and enough bleeding that he had to go to the hospital.
Something tells me things didn't go so well with his "friend" after the incident.
New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress started off the evening on the wrong foot when he decided to bring a gun to a night club. That was mistake No. 1.
Mistake No. 2 was keeping the gun in the waistbelt of his sweatpants.
Of course, we all know what happened next, as Burress proceeded to shoot himself in the thigh. Not only did the injury take him off the field, but it landed him in prison for two years.
Burress will be released soon, prompting Michael Vick to advocate his return to the NFL.
John Smoltz was one of the best pitchers in the history of the Braves franchise, and a likely entrant into the Hall of Fame.
Smoltz likes to avoid that unseemly, wrinkled appearance, so once during the 1990 season, Smoltz reportedly decided to save some time by ironing his shirt while he was wearing it.
What's the worst that could happen?
Rumor has it that Smoltz burned himself pretty bad, but didn't miss any starts. Smoltz has denied these rumors but, then again, who wouldn't?
Marty Cordova had a difficult time with one part of GTL while playing for the Baltimore Orioles.
The former Rookie of the Year had to sit out a game after sustaining burns because he fell asleep in a tanning bed before the game.
Why a man who spends 162 days a year in direct sunlight would be tanning during the season is beyond me, but apparently suspicion arose when Cordova arrived at the park and his skin was the same color as the O's uniforms.
Jack Del Rio is a master of motivational techniques. In 2003, the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars placed a stump and an axe in his team's locker room, a symbol for his team to "keep chopping wood."
The players bought into the metaphor and took turns hacking at the stump with the axe. Everything was fine until it was punter Chris Hanson's (not to be confused with predator-catcher Chris Hansen) turn.
Hanson grabbed the axe, took a mighty swing, and brought the axe down...directly onto his left foot.
The injury was to his non-kicking foot, but the injury was bad enough to keep the punter out for a month.
As if punters and kickers weren't already ostracized from the team enough already...now we have to ban them from motivational exercises as well.
Steve Sparks had a good shot at making the Milwaukee Brewers during spring training of 1994. That is, until he saw a motivational speaker rip a phone book in half.
Sparks tried to duplicate the feat, but instead the phone book ripped Sparks in half.
He dislocated his shoulder and puttered around in the minors for a few years before turning to the knuckleball. Eventually he made it to the majors where he stayed for several years.
And who says motivational speaking doesn't work?
Celebrations are a part of any sport. Some people jump up in the air. Others pump a fist. And other people try to incorporate things around them into their celebrations.
That's exactly what QB Gus Frerotte did after he ran for a touchdown against the New York Giants in 1997.
In terms of a celebration, it was pretty lame. It kind of looks like he couldn't stop his momentum and just ran into the wall with his head.
The celebration seemed infinitely dumber when it turned out that Frerotte sprained his neck and had to be taken to the hospital.
Frerotte will not be remembered for his QB skills, but he will be remembered as the dumbass who broke his neck headbutting the wall.
There are a few ways to test the temperature of an iron. One way is to put your hand in front of it until you feel the heat. Another way is to simply start ironing and then feel your clothes to see if they're hot.
Brian Anderson, then a pitcher on the Diamondbacks, shirked those methods and came up with one of his own. Anderson took the iron and pressed it up to his jaw.
Yes, it was hot.
Anderson burned his face and was forced to explain the embarrassing situation to reporters. Anderson is no stranger to dumb injuries, as he once missed a start after developing elbow stiffness from leaving his arm across the back seat of a taxi for 20 minutes.
I know there are other injuries that could be No. 1, but if you're talking about the dumbest sports injuries, I don't know how you beat intentionally pressing a hot iron to your face.