PITTSBURGH — Injuries defined the 2019 Pittsburgh sports scene as several key players missed significant time for their teams. Here are some of the more notable injuries over the past 12 months:
Ben Roethlisberger hurt his elbow just six quarters into the Steelers 2019 season and had surgery that kept him out the remainder of the year. Stephon Tuitt played just five games before suffering a pectoral injury that left him on injured reserve. Rosie Nix missed much of the season with a knee injury, while James Conner missed six games with various ailments and JuJu Smith-Schuster had a knee injury and concussion that caused him to miss four games. Ryan Switzer was shut down midway through the season with a back injury as well.
Mike Sullivan has spent more time assessing the Penguins’ injury list than preparing for opponents as his player are dropping one after the other. Sidney Crosby has missed the most time after undergoing hernia surgery, although he returned to the ice New Year’s Eve, albeit in a non-contact jersey. Just hours after being named to his first NHL All-Star Game, Jake Guentzel suffered a nasty collision into the boards that put him under the knife for shoulder surgery. He’ll now miss four to six months, although it’s reportedly closer to the six-month timetable. Patric Hornqvist, Brian Dumoulin, Justin Schultz, Nick Bjugstad and Evgeni Malkin have all missed significant time with injuries of their own.
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When compiling these lists, I didn’t even think about what the Pirates went through, however, they had a number of bad injuries as well. Jameson Taillon started just seven games before succumbing to the dreaded Tommy John surgery. He’ll miss all of 2020 as he rehabs the injury. Chad Kuhl missed 2019 recovering from the same surgery. Gregory Polanco had shoulder and knee issues, while Francisco Cervelli never could quite kick concussion symptoms that limited him to just 50 games played between the Pirates and Braves.
All in all, the injury bug hit Pittsburgh hard in 2019 and everyone is hoping for a much healthier 2020.
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