Even though major league baseball has begun its exhibition season and college and professional basketball is winding down toward the playoffs, pro football news has practically been put on the back burner.
National Football League items of interest to fans in Southeast Texas include the successful surgery to Orange native Earl Thomas III, how the Dallas Cowboys are handling the new contract of wide receiver Dez Bryant and the results of three more surgeries to Houston Texans’ often-injured linebacker Brian Cushing.
If there’s one thing that can be said about the Seattle Seahawks’ All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas is that he hates to miss any playing time.
In fact, according to a recent article that appeared in the Seattle Times, Thomas has played in every game the Seahawks played since becoming their No. 1 draft choice five years ago.
And according to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who has performed surgeries at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles on athletes such as NBA star Kobe Bryant and baseball pitcher Zack Greinke, Thomas should be able to continue his 80-game streak of consecutive starts when the 2015 season begins Sept. 13.
Thomas suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder while playing against the Green Bay Packers during the NFC Championship Game and had it surgically repaired last Tuesday. This procedure generally requires six to eight months of rehabilitation.
Earl is hoping for the shorter time because the 2015 NFL season begins in six months, three weeks from his surgery last week.
Earl is confident he will be ready for the 2015 opener along with both Head Coach Pete Carroll and General Manager John Schneider, who indicated at last week’s NFL combine that Thomas could miss some of this summer’s training camp but should be ready to start the regular season.
“Earl’s going to be fighting and scratching to be out there during training camp, but we’re going to monitor him and make sure we do what’s best for the long term,” Schneider told the Seattle reporter at the combine.
“Usually with a typical labrum repair–which is a type of cartilage found in the shoulder joint—especially for a football player in a collision-contact sport, generally we like to wait at least six months,” Dr. ElAttrache pointed out.
Cushing decided to have all three surgeries to help him get ready for his seventh season with the Houston Texans.
“Not only did Cushing undergo surgery to repair a broken right wrist, but he also had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and left ankle,” the Houston Chronicle reported in its Sunday edition.
“Left ankle, left knee—the same knee I’ve had all the issues with,” the 28-year-old Cushing told the Chronicle. “We have the technology and the doctors, especially in Houston, to do a simple minor procedure like that. Go in, clean whatever needs to get out of there and just feel better.”
Cushing has a cast on his right wrist and says he’s on schedule for everything required to be ready for the off-season program. “Playing linebacker and having a wrist issue is the last thing you really want,” Cushing lamented.
And it appears the Dallas Cowboys want assurance that Dez Bryant will be in a Cowboys’ uniform this fall so they plan on placing the franchise player tag on him.
Bryant has indicated that he wants a lucrative long-term contract but the Cowboys put the franchise tag on the talented wide receiver from Lufkin on Monday.
The franchise tag prevents Bryant from hitting the free agent marketplace and guarantees him $12.8 million for the 2015 NFL season.
The Cowboys felt they were close to a long-term deal with Bryant during the season, but it fell apart. Since then Bryant has changed agents and is now represented by Tom Condon of Roc Nation.
The two sides have until July 15 to work out a long-term contract. If no deal is reached, then the franchise tender sticks for the entire season.
KWICKIES…Sunset Grove golfer Barry Thibodeaux made a hole-in-one last week using a five-iron on the Par 3,159-yard No. 14 hole over the water. It was his first ace and was witnessed by Sid Callaivet, Bill Van, Grant Gipson and George Davis. Unfortunately, Barry is not an MGA member and consequently missed out on his $200 reward.
The Lamar Lady Cardinals softball team was headed down a path of mediocrity with an unimpressive 3-8 record before playing in the University of Texas Invitational Tournament in Austin last weekend. The Lady Cards beat Dartmouth and Texas Southern on Friday, lost to Dartmouth Saturday before crushing the No. 25-ranked Lady Longhorns 9-1. They concluded the tourney Sunday with another win over Texas Southern and have a more respectable 7-9 record as they christen the brand-new Lamar Softball Complex this weekend by hosting a Southland Conference doubleheader Friday and a single game Saturday against Houston Baptist.
And while on the subject of Lamar, The Big Red concluded their second week of spring football practice with their second scrimmage Saturday. The offense and the weather showed marked improvement over the Redbirds’ initial scrimmage Feb. 21 when the defense was good but the weather was lousy. The offense scored three touchdowns while the defense had a pair of interceptions at Provost-Umphrey Stadium in Beaumont. The Cards will hold the Crawfish Bowl, their annual spring football game, on Saturday.
It seemed like last weekend’s Honda Classic was the golf tournament nobody wanted to win. Ian Poulter was 8-under par and three strokes ahead of the field going into the final round Sunday that was suspended due to darkness. But on Monday Poulter plunked five shots into the water resulting in a triple bogey and two doubles. Patrick Reed took over the lead, but he also found the water, putting second-round leader Padraig Harrington back into the lead. But the Irishman hit his tee shot on No. 17 into the pond for a double bogey, putting 21-year old rookie Daniel Berger, who started the round nine shots behind Poulter and finished his round of 66 some 90 minutes earlier, into the lead at 6-under par. Harrington birdied No. 18 to tie Berger and force a playoff and won on the second extra hole when Berger plunked his tee shot into the drink on No. 17. Ironically, the 43-year-old Harrington became the oldest golfer to win the Honda Classic, beating Berger who would have become the youngest if he had won.
JUST BETWEEN US…CBS News Sunday night had a report on baseball pitchers that was rather earth-shattering news for an old pitcher like me. The report stated that most of the dos and don’ts of pitching wisdom is flat out wrong and that’s one of the reasons arm injuries leading to Tommy John surgery have reached epidemic levels, according to 60 Minutes Sports. “Throwing across your body, landing on your heel, opening up when throwing and throwing curve balls are not bad,” the report stated. It also said the curve ball was the easiest pitch on your arm. “Baseball is 10 years behind the other sports in technology involved using it. We must put our egos aside and embrace the information out there. 3-D motion analysis can uncover flaws in our natural motion used to throw a baseball. Sensor and high-speed cameras can discover flaws that the naked eye cannot,” the report pointed out. Back when I was a teen-ager, a kid needed to throw strikes at 90 mph to get the scouts attention. Today that bar is set a 100 mph for a major league fastball and there are more players now than in the entire history of the game able to throw that hard.