White Sox

Prognosis rosy for Bulls' superstar after surgery?


Prognosis rosy for Bulls' superstar after surgery?

While the subject of Tuesday afternoons press conference at Rush University Medical Center wasnt present, those who spoke on his behalf assured the assembled media that Derrick Rose was indeed making progress four days after his surgery to repair his torn left anterior cruciate ligament.

Derrick is doing great, said Dr. Brian Cole, the Bulls team physican and the man who performed Saturday mornings procedure on Rose, along with his partner, a team physician for the White Sox. The surgery went extremely well. Really, no surprises.

He had an isolated ACL tear and he had a medial meniscal tear that we fixed, and he had a small outer meniscal tear that we trimmed and should be of no significant consequence, he continued, noting that Rose has been diligently following post-surgery instructions. At this point, were very optimistic. If you think back to where we were 20 or 30 years ago, this was clearly a career-ending injury and were at least able to say now that were doing a whole lot better than we were then.

Well do everything possible to get him back safely and expeditiously, and in an appropriate time-frame and at a point that we think that hes at the lowest point of occurring any re-injury, and at the time, we think his performance will be a level we think will be consistent with whats needed to play professional basketball.

Cole confirmed the previously reported recovery timeline of eight to 12 months for an athlete of this caliber, but can vary depending on when Rose meets progressive objective parameters. Roses rehabilitation will also incorporate a lot of risk prevention and even after full recovery, it may take slightly longer for him to be at his pre-injury level, according to Cole.

Saturdays procedure consisted of one incision, which will eventually heal, to the ligament the ACL connects the femur to the tibia, Cole explained to harvest a patellar tendon autograft and then was done arthroscopically, through a camera and small holes. No incisions were done while repairing Roses meniscal tear.

Its impossible to predict tomorrow, Cole acknowledged, when whether Rose would fully regain his trademark explosiveness. Statistically, he should be that player and then some. That doesnt mean its guaranteed.

The ligament is one thing giving him a new ligament and the meniscus is another, he continued. Getting his brain connected to his knee basically, thats probably the longest amount of time required, for that purpose, to really get everything connected again and sort of hard-wired from a neurological point of view.

Cole also discussed the fact that Roses injury was a freak accident, not something symptomatic of previous issues, in line with the widely-held theory that the lockout-shortened NBA regular-season schedule is responsible for the rash of injuries around the league.

This could be anything from a completely random event which, in a non-contact injury, most of the time thats what it is to maybe conditioning, but well never know with certainty. My feeling is, its more likely than not, a very random event, he said.

The good news with him is he didnt tear his medial collateral ligament, the other ligament, which made his pre-rehabiliatation process go much smoother. Thats why he has a very expedited recovery because the amount of injury to the knee was minimal enough that it allowed us to get to him when we felt it was fit, but I dont think well ever have a perfect explanation.

Cole and Bulls head trainer Fred Tedeschi, who was also present at the press conference, along with team general manager Gar Forman, admitted they hadnt discussed Roses whereabouts during the recovery process the All-Star point guard typically spends his summers in California but vowed that the organization would be heavily involved.

Right now hes in Chicago and will rehab at Rush, said Cole, who is a professor at the hospital and a member of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. We havent worked out all the details, but well be on top of him.

Added Tedeschi: Were not entirely settled on geography at this point, but just know that wherever he is and whatever hes doing, hes going to have the best people involved and my role with the Bulls is to coordinate his care and obviously be a part of it as a practitioner.

One concern following Roses injury was why it took so long for him to have surgery, as a two-week period of time went by after he suffered the tear, in Game 1 of the Bulls first-round playoff series with Philadelphia.

Weve learned so much about preparing a patient for ACL surgery. The goals initially are to get motion back, minimize the swelling, have him walk with a normal gait, be able to activate his quadriceps, get some single-leg activity, really to get him functioning as normally as possible and making sure his motion is perfect, and we met all those objectives, explained Cole, who noted that the MRI on Roses knee is exactly what he saw during surgery, which doesnt always occur, as well as the fact that Roses meniscal tear occurs frequently to people who suffer ACL injuries. People were asking, why not do the surgery the next day? The appropriate thing is to wait for the knee to tell you when its ready.

Re-injury is actually more common in a patient who has torn their ACL in their other knee, but youre still talking a very low percentage, continued Cole, who confirmed the reported use of PRP in Roses surgery, which could potentially supercharge the healing process. We know how to reduce the risk, but we dont know how to eliminate it and thats still the remaining challenge with ACL injuries.

We do everything possible, with the things that we can control, to stimulate healing and the best thing about it is hes 23 and has outstanding healing potential.

White Sox in the thick of it as AL Central race with Indians, Twins heats up

White Sox in the thick of it as AL Central race with Indians, Twins heats up

This AL Central race is going to be fun.

It looked like the Minnesota Twins might have blitzed right past the White Sox in the season’s first weekend, issuing a 14-2 clubbing on their way out of Chicago in the decisive third game of that series. The White Sox went on to Northeast Ohio and dropped the first two of that three-game set against the Cleveland Indians, and a 1-4 start threw some chilly Great Lakes water on the preseason thought of the South Siders running with the class of the division in this season’s 60-game sprint to October.

But the White Sox turned their 1-4 start around with a six-game win streak. And after a 2-0 nail-biter of a win over the Indians on Friday night that reshuffled the standings, the Pale Hose have now won their last five games against division foes, including a pair against these Clevelanders.

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The intensity’s been there all week. After a sweep of the Kansas City Royals, the first three of the White Sox four games against the Milwaukee Brewers had a distinct playoff-style feel to them, well pitched, closely decided contests that struck as the most intense games the White Sox have played in years.

Be it the compressed nature of this season’s schedule or the fact that these White Sox are finally equipped to compete for a division title, this is unlike anything that’s graced the South Side in some time.

“We're treating every game like a must-win,” White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease said Friday night. “These games definitely don't have the same feeling as Game 15 of a 162-game season. We're coming to the ballpark to win every day."

When it comes to the Twins, atop the Central standings with 10 wins — one of only two major league squads to hit double digits to this point, even with back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Royals — it seems the White Sox will have to win a few more home run derbies the likes of which we saw in that opening weekend.

But runs have been somewhat scarce for the White Sox after they scored a combined 20 runs and banged out a total of 35 hits in winning the final two games of that series last weekend in Kansas City. They’ve scored just eight times in their last four games combined. There’s more than one way to win a game, of course, and as injuries continue to make the White Sox dugout look like the Tune Squad bench late in that game against the Monstars, the South Siders have figured out a few others besides blowing up the scoreboard.

Friday night’s playoff feel brought the Indians’ sensational pitching staff to Guaranteed Rate Field, and Aaron Civale was just about as good as he was against the White Sox last week in Cleveland. He didn’t pile up the strikeouts this time, but he still pitched seven innings of one-run ball, the lone run he gave up coming home on a first-inning double-play grounder.

Cease, somewhat miraculously, countered with five shutout innings of his own despite putting nearly the entire city of Cleveland on base. He walked five guys, including issuing four leadoff walks, hit another and allowed a couple of hits. Thankfully for Cease and the White Sox, though, he also came up with multiple clutch, inning-ending double-play balls, and the defense was excellent behind him and a trio of relievers, the first two of which had as much trouble keeping the bases clear as Cease did.

You want playoff-style drama? Scatter the bases with potential runs every inning and watch the pitchers dance their way out of one jam after another.

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That’s not going to fly on a regular basis, obviously, but it sure made for some heart-pounding baseball, which is — as anyone who was pulling double duty with playoff hockey Friday night knows — fun.

“I can't expect those kinds of results if I'm going to have that many base runners all the time,” Cease said. “Fortunately, we were able to get out of here with a 'W,' but it's not something that's going to be sustainable. So I have to do a better job of getting ahead and not doing that.”

The onslaught of high-caliber Cleveland pitching continues the rest of the weekend, and who knows if the White Sox will be able to solve it as they barely did Friday. Zach Plesac, who stymied the White Sox with 11 strikeouts in eight shutout innings last week, is up Saturday. Then it’s a heck of a pitching matchup Sunday, with Lucas Giolito facing off against current AL Cy Young front-runner Shane Bieber, who’s struck out 35 hitters in his first three starts of the season.

That game ought to be another dandy, and with a frequently showcased rivalry between the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals waved off this weekend, the White Sox will step into the nationally televised spotlight Sunday night, the perfect spot for such a pitching matchup and a division race that’s heating up like this one is. The White Sox swapped spots with the Indians on Friday, into second place and two games back of the Twins. The Indians are just two and a half games behind the division leaders.

“Both of those teams are very good clubs,” White Sox outfielder Adam Engel said of the Twins and Indians. “Two totally different makeups, they win games differently. We have a pretty balanced attack ourselves. It’s fun playing good baseball against good teams.

“The Indians, it seems like every time they come to town or we go to Cleveland, we are facing some pretty good arms. Makes it fun. You just have to stay disciplined, stay really focused in your work. It always feels like you’re going to be part of a good baseball game.

“Those are two tough teams, and hopefully we can keep playing them well.”

RELATED: Rick Renteria: Tim Anderson, not Luis Robert, will be White Sox leadoff man

Obviously, everything’s felt different this season. There are no fans in the stands, COVID-19 is constantly threatening the completion of the campaign, and a brief ramp up to Opening Day has made for a high number of injuries across the league.

But there’s a different feeling on the South Side, too, for much more positive reasons. This team has been talking about its high expectations for months, and they’ve got a roster that looks capable of living up to them. While an expanded playoff field gives the White Sox a pretty good chance of reaching the postseason, they’ve still got their eyes on the biggest prizes, and the first one of those is the Central crown.

They’ve played just 14 games. But it sure feels like a pennant race.

“I don’t remember ever really watching scoreboards so closely as a team through the first couple of weeks in the season,” Engel said. “We come in off the field and we want to see what’s going on around the league, or we’re announcing what scores are postgame for different teams. You control what you can control, and you want to win as many games as you can. But we’re all keeping our eyes on the scoreboard, and I’m sure it’s like that league-wide.

“Everybody kind of feels like they’re in it right now, and 60 games, this is going to be a heck of a season. I’m excited that we’re playing good baseball right now. Hopefully we can keep it going.”


Blackhawks' Corey Crawford heating up just in time for Stanley Cup Playoffs

Blackhawks' Corey Crawford heating up just in time for Stanley Cup Playoffs

The biggest storyline of Blackhawks training camp 2.0 was Corey Crawford missing the first 12 days because he had tested positive for COVID-19. He showed up on the final practice day in Chicago, which was exactly one week from the start of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Edmonton Oilers.

The Blackhawks did everything they could to get him ready for Game 1, but you knew it would take him a while to get back into top form. And it has.

In the first three games against the Oilers, Crawford allowed 13 goals on 92 shots for a save percentage of .859 and had a minus-5.68 goals saved above average, according to Natural Stat Trick, which ranked dead last among all goaltenders. 

But when the Blackhawks needed him most in Game 4, Crawford delivered. 

The two-time Stanley Cup champion turned aside 41 of 43 shots for a save percentage of .953 in Friday’s 3-2 series-clinching win against the Oilers, including all 18 in the third period, a handful of which came from high-danger areas.

"He's a huge part of our team and he played real well today," Dominik Kubalik said. "I thought he was our best player."

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To take it a step further: Crawford stopped 16 of 18 shots from the slot and had nine saves from the inner slot, which is the third-most in a game by any goaltender this postseason, according to Sportlogiq. The Oilers had an expected goals for rate of 4.33 but scored only twice, which means Crawford saved the Blackhawks 2.33 goals.

It was a vintage performance between the pipes for No. 50.

"Obviously it wasn't the best scenario," Crawford said of having just one week to get ramped up for the qualifying round. "I would have liked to have had a few more weeks of practice and see more pucks coming into the series. But it is what it is. I think I felt way better each game, playing each game and just seeing different scenarios and situations. Once you get more of that, just the better you feel. Tonight was obviously better."

Despite turning in a terrific outing on Friday, Crawford admitted “there’s still some work to do” before he feels like in peak form. But if he gets there in time for the beginning of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Blackhawks could be a dangerous underdog team.

"I was able to kind of hide back there until I started feeling comfortable," Crawford said. "Still don't think I'm at the top of my game, but it was definitely better today."