|The Worst-Timed Injuries in New England Sports History||01.03.10 at 11:54 pm ET|
The season-ending injury to Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker allows the wide receiver to join an illustrious list of players injured in meaningless situations (whether in-game or off the field) that transformed the fate of a season — or, in some cases, seasons. Here is the list of the five most significant injuries in meaningless situations in New England sports history:
1. Ted Williams hurts wrist before 1946 World Series in an exhibition game against a group of American League All-Stars. Upon hearing the news, Mel Webb tears a hammy doing the lambada with Dave Egan.
2. Robert Edwards — fresh off of a 1,115-yard, nine-TD rookie season — blows out his knee playing in a rookie flag football game at the Pro Bowl, effectively ending his career. The man who “coached” Edwards’ team in that game? Mr. Joe Theismann! Admit it, you thought I was going to say Bernard Pollard.
3. Apollo Creed dies (apparently immediately) after a second-round knockout at the hands of the Siberian Bull, Ivan Drago. As Duke lets us know, “This was supposed to be an exhibition!” Still not sure why Drago didn’t at least face manslaughter charges. I mean, the man did push the referee out of the way when he tried to stop the fight. And yes, that was the best Mrs. Creed ever looked. And no, Creed had nothing to do with New England sports. So, fine: call No. 3 Josh Beckett‘s strained intercostal muscle — the result of his final bullpen session of the 2008 regular season — that turned him into a shell of himself during the 2008 postseason.
4. While indicating to the tender of the bar at Chelsea’s that he would pay for all the drinks in the establishment that evening, Larry Bird‘s right hand managed to meet the jaw of a patron, one Mr. Mike Harlow. The completely random accident led to a broken pinkie. Unfortunately, this occurred in the off day between Games 2 and 3 of the 1985 Eastern Conference Finals. Though the Celtics managed to advance to the NBA Finals, Bird struggled in the six-game series loss to the Lakers.
5. In the final preseason game of 1989, the Patriots lose Andre Tippett, Ronnie Lippett and Garin Veris for the entire season. In an emotional pre-game ceremony before the season opener, Lippett presents Steve Grogan with the neck brace he wore in the hospital following his injury. Grogan takes the gesture a step too far and actually wears it on the field for six games. The Patriots finish 5-11.
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