Terry and Cech won't be celebrating together the rest of this season.
Sang Tan

Chelsea came away with a tie in Madrid on Tuesday, but it came at an exceptionally high cost. The team has lost both first-choice goalkeeper Petr Cech and team captain John Terry for the rest of the season.

Cech has a dislocated shoulder that may require surgery, while Terry will miss at least a month with a foot injury. Both will miss both the next leg of the Champions League as well as the key match with Liverpool this weekend.

It took one awkward fall to take perhaps the world's best goalkeeper out of the Champions League and the remainder of the Barclays Premier League season. Chelsea's Petr Cech has a dislocated shoulder and is done for the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign, leaving his team to rely on 41-year-old Mark Schwarzer.

Replays were not clear whether Cech was undercut during his defense of a corner, but it was clear that he landed on his outstretched right arm. The force of the fall and his body pushed the humeral head out of joint, and it took several minutes for Dr. Eva Carneiro to stabilize Cech's arm enough for him to walk off the pitch. The joint was later reduced, or popped back into place.

Alex Brandon

More injuries? Yes, that's been the storyline across baseball seemingly since camps opened in February. With all of the injuries to big names costing teams time and money, perhaps we should worry about some sort of surgery count for Drs. Andrews, Kremchek and ElAttrache. The scalpel has to be getting dull at this point, but more names are piling up on the DL, like Chris Sale, Ivan Nova, and Carlos Gonzalez.

Monitoring these injuries is tough. I keep an extensive database, and there are others out there, too, but does it surprise you that MLB really doesn't any type of database to the public? They do have an extensive database behind the scenes, including the day-to-day marks that could put research into hyperdrive, but there's less of a chance of this being public than them opening up the feed to FieldF/X.

HIPAA aside, baseball's aversion to research is problematic. The NFL was forced to put $10 million into concussion research. But prior to that? Nothing. Baseball has done well to push for many advancements, but the failure here is dismal. 

I'd suggest that one of MLB's biggest successes, the RBI Program, be cloned for sports medicine research. Big grants to places that can make a difference such as equipment manufacturers and medical research hospitals would be nice, but let's go a step further by getting SABR involved and setting up a prize for the best research projects. The league should make more data available to the Sloan types out there and see what happens.


As important as it is to have a true ace—or two, if you're the New York Yankees—it's as important to go five deep, or deeper, in the modern game. While Masahiro Tanaka is shaping up very well, worth every penny the Yankees paid to put him in pinstripes alongside CC Sabathia, there's trouble at the back of the rotation. Ivan Nova was a solid back-of-the-rotation arm, but that arm failed, and Nova is heading for Tommy John surgery, as noted by Mark Feinsand.

Nova becomes just the latest major league pitcher to head for surgery. Feinsand notes that Nova would be the 15th, though this number doesn't include pitchers who are waiting for surgery, currently trying to rehab to avoid the surgery or minor leaguers who have had the surgery. 

Nova does have a significant injury history. He's been on the DL each of the last two seasons with arm problems and lacks control, but there were few signs that there was an impending injury. No one yet has a great "early warning system" for these kinds of injuries, but the few things we do know don't appear to be in play here. There was no sudden loss of control, there was no drop in release point and among some of my other proprietary methods, no red flags pop up. Maybe home runs allowed is a sign? 

With Chris Sale, many were pointing to a high pitch-count game (if 127 is high these days) as a causation. That certainly isn't the case with Nova. He had only gone 80 before he was removed and did not top 100 in any of his other three starts this season. In 2013, he never went higher than 112 while injuries held him under 140 innings on the year. 

john bazemore

Less than two innings isn't much of a sample size, but since coming back from shoulder soreness, Craig Kimbrel hasn't looked much like the Craig Kimbrel of old. The Atlanta Braves closer blew his first save, giving up a double to Derek Dietrich, raising questions about how healthy he is and whether the Braves have yet another injury issue to deal with early in 2014.

Kimbrel has been nearly automatic since taking over the Braves closer spot. After a decade of mix-and-match at the back of the pen (and a number of injuries), Bobby Cox finally had the closer he had been looking for, a combination of power and control not seen since early Jonathan Papelbon. 

Both Kimbrel and manager Fredi Gonzalez told fellow B/R writer Knox Bardeen reporting for the Macon Telegraph that Kimbrel was "fine." However, Kimbrel had complained of shoulder soreness back on April 15. A bit of rest has gotten him from sore to fine, but the results aren't following.

Looking at Kimbrel through the lens of PitchF/x shows nearly nothing. While his velocity is slightly down in aggregate, again the small sample size has to be noted. He is, in scouting parlance, living at 95 and touching 97 with his fastball, showing the normal movement. The curve is also consistent. His release point remains in his normal range as well. Even in his latest start he's 95-96. 

Keith Srakocic

Last year, former University of North Carolina offensive lineman James Hurst suffered a leg injury during the Tar Heels' 39-17 victory over the University of Cincinnati in December's Belk Bowl. According to The News and Observer's Andrew Carter, doctors later diagnosed the left tackle with a non-displaced fibula fracture, bringing his record-breaking, 49-start career at UNC to a close.

Like any injured college star, media attention quickly shifted toward Hurst's draft prospects and NFL future.

Fortunately—relative to other types of football injuries, at least—a non-displaced fibula fracture is actually somewhat benign and usually carries an excellent prognosis. As such, in the end, it may only minimally affect Hurst's draft stock.

Let's take a closer look.

The fibula runs down the outside of the lower leg alongside the tibia—or shin bone. It connects the ankle to the very top of the tibia, supporting it and serving as an attachment point for ligaments and muscle tendons.

USA Today

The Chicago White Sox placed team ace Chris Sale on the disabled list with what they called a flexor strain in his pitching elbow, according to Scott Merkin of MLB.com. However, Robin Ventura took that specific diagnosis and cast a bit of smoke around it, claiming the soreness was not specific to the elbow. Sources indicate to me that the strain is minor and focused, but there is no indication of damage to the ligament.

Sale did have an MRI on Monday night, and various media reports indicate that the images did not show structural damage. General manager Rick Hahn indicated that the soreness was in a similar location and width of location to his previous issues, but that he did not believe that there was any further damage to the elbow itself. (There's some debate as to whether the flexor mass is "elbow" or "forearm," but this illustration shows that it's semantics.) 

Sale did have a similar, previous issue in both 2012 and 2013. However, in both cases, the problem was with his shoulder. The Sox went as far as removing Sale from the rotation and making plans for him to move to the closer role, but he successfully lobbied for a return and was back in the rotation after one appearance from the pen.  

Many are pointing to the 127-pitch outing that Sale had in his last game. While this is high for 2014, it's not that high historically, and there is no evidence that it contributed to the current issue. Last time Sale missed time, he'd gone 113 pitches in his previous start before missing a couple of starts. 

USA Today

A simulated game isn't an ideal situation to test a player's progress, but it is a good sign that Clayton Kershaw was able to make it through his sim without causing issues in his injured shoulder, as the Orange County Register noted. His time off and a slow ramp-up appear to have worked, meaning that the strained teres major has healed properly.

The next step will be a rehab start, likely at nearby Rancho Cucamonga, though schedule and weather may have something to do with where Kershaw goes. If that goes well, it could be the only rehab start he makes before returning, putting him right on schedule for a May 1 return, more or less.

If you subscribe to the school of thought that a pitcher "only has so many bullets," then wasting a Kershaw start in the minor leagues makes no sense. If you subscribe to the thought that a pitcher has to build his stamina and his confidence at rehab starts, just having one makes no sense. We'll learn quickly where the Dodgers are.

For me, I think it's the former. It's less about bullets and more about maximizing an asset like Kershaw. Having missed four or five starts already and locked into a five-man modern rotation, he has a best case of 27 or 28 starts on the year. That's somewhere around 175 innings. Even at his per-start numbers from last year, that's a loss of a win to the Dodgers, though his new, heavily backloaded deal makes it a cheaper proposition. 

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Carlos Gonzalez is one of the most talented players in the National League, but over the past few seasons, he hasn't been healthy enough to turn that into production. With Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki taking up space in both the payroll and the training room, it's no wonder that Walt Weiss' team has struggled. Gonzalez is now dealing with tendinitis in his knee, noted by the Denver Post, something that's often difficult for similar players to overcome.

Gonzalez says he's been dealing with the inflammation since early last season, but that should hardly make anyone feel good. This type of situation with a chronic leg injury indicates that while he's able to play through it, the Colorado Rockies medical staff hasn't been able to clear up the situation. 

While the Rockies have not said which tendon is affected, it is most likely the patellar tendon. The patellar tendon runs over the front surface of the knee. It is strong and thick but very exposed and can be injured easily. There are studies that show a connection between patellar tendon issues and ankle sprains. 

Tendinitis is, by definition, a swelling of a tendon. Rather than a stretching or tearing of fibers as in a strain, the inflammation is caused by a chronic situation and can be quite painful. If the condition goes on long enough, it can morph into tendinosis, which is even more serious. With those changes in tensile strength, a rupture of the tendon is more likely. 

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

My pal Phil B. Wilson writes for the Indianapolis Star. We were sitting in the press box watching the game between the new local side, the Indy Eleven, and the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Phil admits he doesn't know the ins and outs of soccer, but he knew enough to point out that one of the Rowdies players looked "dead" when he was tackled roughly.

The tackler got a finger wag, but the player who was down laid there for about 15 seconds without moving. When he decided to get up, he took 10 or 12 limping steps then immediately accelerated past the defender on an angled run. Call it adrenaline, but to a new soccer fan (or journalist in this case), it looked suspicious. And it was.

Later, Indy lost a goal because of a similar situation. Erick Norales went up for a header and came down in a heap. He grabbed at his thigh but didn't move for nearly 30 seconds. During that time, the Eleven lost position, and the Rowdies attacked directly at the downed player. The keeper was thrown off by the downed man and hesitated, and it cost the team the goal.

Norales stayed down and needed assistance to leave the field but did not exit the game. In fact, he was back on the field inside of two minutes and later scored the tying goal. Watching the game on TV, I couldn't see any contact with the area Norales grabbed while he was down. At the time of the injury, I was 20 yards away just behind the touchline and heard absolutely nothing from Norales. He didn't cry out in pain or communicate with the goalie.

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Good health is a foretold conclusion for most 2014 NFL draft prospects. For others, injuries constitute only a minor speed bump in an otherwise-promising road to the NFL.

Yet for an unfortunate few, a serious or ill-timed injury may seriously affect their competitiveness in this year's draft.

As NFL teams continue to sift through the field, several injuries will raise the proverbial red flag, eliminating players from some teams' big boards altogether. Then again, other players may fall just far enough, becoming a bona fide steal, so to speak.

With that in mind, let's take a look at a few prospects with injury concerns expected to be selected late in the draft who may outperform their draft position in the long term.