Friday, July 3, 2009

Will injury dash Canada's hopes for repeat Paralympics gold?

Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong confirmed today that he has a shoulder injury that will require surgery.

"I have a muscle tear in my left (non-throwing) shoulder that has been bothering me since before the World Championships," he said today. "The prognosis for a full recovery is good, but the surgeons are suggesting that rehab may take three to six months."

Jim is a large man and fairly new to using a wheelchair. It is easy to under estimate how much strain wheeling around, places on shoulders he described as "already beaten up by years of sweeping." Leaving aside issues of physical discomfort, the non throwing arm is important for a stable delivery motion, as well as the ability to manipulate the chair and thus maintain fitness.

"The long rehab is a concern," Jim said, "but if I can get the surgery in a couple of weeks I plan to go ahead with it. Otherwise I'll wait until after the Paralympics."

While the Team Canada squad is comprised of very capable individual curlers, Armstrong's leadership at skip was the decisive factor in Canada's first World Championship last March. It is also the cornerstone of Canada's hopes for repeating their Torino gold medal success at the Vancouver Paralympics in 2010. Even were he not fit enough to justify throwing last rocks, I suspect Armstrong's expertise in strategy, ice reading and team management would mean he'd have to be unable to get his rocks down the ice before he lost his place on the team.

The injury does raise the question of who would replace him were he unable to compete, and what the coaching staff have done to prepare for that eventuality. And what effect will a Jim at less than 100% have on the rest of the team?

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've seen Jim play in pain at Briers...he will be there, even if he has to chew off his own arm for the team.

I do hope he gets the surgery asap, though, to eliminate the "wild-card" factor.

Good luck, Big Guy.

Anonymous said...

Is this for real, or is Jim just changing the Las Vegas odds?

He will play, and be an asset, as long as he is on the right side of the grass.

Don't ever underestimate the guts in this guy.

Anonymous said...

Jim at less than 100% is still a huge leg up on the rest of the field.....he will play, and he will insure the win.

Anonymous said...

Quite simply, I cannot believe Jim's luck. He has struggled through injury and pain through most of his competiteve career, and now it bites again.

I am sure he will overcome, yet again.

Anonymous said...

I bet he doesn't even get the surgery until after the Paralympics. He has put up with too much in this program to opt out.

Good luck, Jim

Anonymous said...

Eric:

Any chance you can get a comment from the coaching staff or Gerry Peckham?

Anonymous said...

What is the CCA comment on this?

Is this for sure, or just a rumour?

Anonymous said...

Big Jim will be there and win.

Anonymous said...

Wow.

Tough luck for Canada.

I wonddr how much it actually bothered him during the Worlds.

Anonymous said...

Jim will work through this, rest assured.

Anonymous said...

Big Jim at 50% is good enough to win

Anonymous said...

Hey, Eric

Has thia been confirmed? Did you talk directly with Jim?

Tough luck for a great guy.

Eric Eales said...

This topic came from my conversation with Jim, and his willingness to have the subject discussed.

I also contacted Gerry Peckham, who said that he was "confident (Jim) will find a way to be game ready come next February" while acknowledging that we'll all know more in a couple of weeks or so.

Here's his full statement:

"Too many unknowns at this point in time to make a definitive statement in regard to the pending surgery. Jim has to make the best decision for him in consultation with appropriate medical expertise and we will support that decision whatever it is. I am confident that he will find a way to be game ready come next February.

"We will all be much wiser in a couple of weeks."

Anonymous said...

A source tells me, DAW is moving to Vancouver!!!!

Why would Daw move all the way to Vancouver....why?????

I think the injury is worse then we are being told.....

Eric, can you confirm if Daw is moving to BC!

Anonymous said...

Daw to BC.....that would say it all....Armstrong is worse than reported, and they are in DESPARATE need of a skip, and there is only one skip at this point

Anonymous said...

DAw to make comeback?????? Maybe, especially if Jim mentored/coached/comtrolled him, it might work.

Wonder how the rest of the team would adapt?

Anonymous said...

I think Daw has burnt his bridges. Howevcer, with the arrival of Jim, Canada is expected medal and or gold,...... without him, they would have to lower expectations....bring Daw in as second or third, and let Jim continue to massage Darryl at skip. Darryl has spent enough time with Jim to exceed Daw's strategic comptence.

Anonymous said...

Expect an announcement of Chris Daw moving to Vancouver in the next day or so.

Anonymous said...

Chris Daw will be in Vancouver to live efore the end of summer.

Anonymous said...

Chris will take Jim's place, to the screams of the coaching staff, but Armstrong will broker the issue

Anonymous said...

Daw to Vancouver????? Jim out?????? Maybe Jim was fired, and the shoulder thing is a lost leader.....

Anonymous said...

Definitely has to be too coincidental that Daw gets a job in Vancouver, nine monhhs before Paralympics, and Armstrong has an injury....can you get comments from the coaching staff, Eric?????

Anonymous said...

The Vaccouver CC release indicates that Daw has retired, but this whole situation seems way too coincidental for timing.

Anonymous said...

You mention team management as an asset....Jim has not been around the team long, yet you feel his managemet is an asset?

Anonymous said...

Jim Armstrong will pass the torch back to Chris, and mentor him through the season

Anonymous said...

I think Jim will not play this season

Anonymous said...

Any further word on Jim's surgery????