Friday, February 12, 2010

Armstrong injury update

Jim Armstrong - 2009 Nationals
photo - Ian Readey
Several people have mentioned to me that from their observation, Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong is carrying the injury to his non-throwing shoulder with obvious discomfort. While there has been no official comment from the team, my understanding is that the injury is uncomfortable, and does affect his mobility, but is not expected to be an issue as far as playing is concerned.

Jim is fortunate in that he can use his legs in addition to or in place of his non-throwing arm, to brace his delivery.

Experienced users of manual wheelchairs know what a strain is placed on shoulders. Throwing rocks from a chair compounds that strain. So it is no great surprise that Jim, with body already worn from decades of sweeping, may be feeling pain, particularly if he felt the need to play catch-up in training after being inactive after last year's shoulder surgery and car accident.

Though Canada would prefer a fully fit Armstrong throwing fourth stones, his major contribution to the team is not the ability to throw takeout weight. Were his injury to worsen, they could easily let him skip from lead. Were that to happen though, would they just move Sonja, Ina and Darryl up the order, or would they bring in Bruno at third and sit Sonja?

And who would skip were Jim not able to play? Canadians, especially the coaches, hope these questions will never need answers, but what would you do?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

If Jim were unable to skip, I would certainly book my flight home before the playoff round! Without him, we simply slip well into the middle of the pack, no question about it.

Anonymous said...

I certainly don't see him around the Richmond Club as much as I used to. In fact, he has not been around, to my beief since last Monday or Tuesday.

Eric Eales said...

He's been out of town doing media stuff, then a training camp. No significance to him not being in Richmond last week.

Anonymous said...

Jim is fine, the team is fine and negative speculation about Jim and or the team is getting old. Embrace team Canada and cheer them on.

Eric Eales said...

Speculation abhors a vacuum.

Anonymous said...

The entire program is strong and ready to conduct business. Best wishes to them all and do yourselves proud!

Anonymous said...

Eric:

How about a comment right from the horse's mouth, so to speak. I always wonder if we are getting a "filtered" message about Jim's condition, given the money and hopes pinned on this year's team. I don't think anyone can argue that as Jim goes, so goes the Team.

This is NOT anything like pre-Armstrong teams, when no one could step up and lead the team, and strategy was waffled around with the entire team trying to figure it out, and in the Worlds, we had Gary, Gerry and Darryl all having a go at skipping.

Which brings me back to the obvious. Is Jim actually okay? Ignoring the obvious emotional rollercoaster he has endure this season, he has survived a very difficult surgery, a devastating car crash, and now further aggravation of his shoulder.

Quite honestly, given the reports you have had, Eric, I firmly believe the CCA staff are understating the problem, and are keeping their head in the sand with their fingers crossed. I also DOUBT that they even have a viable contingency plan in place.

The only person I would believe, as we are now less than a month away, is from Jim, himself. He has always been an up front guy, and I am sure he would be straight, good or bad.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree that no news from Team Canada staff suggests there is a problem with Jim.

I hope not, since we would go from a favourite to non-contender.

Eric Eales said...

I'll be posting a comprehensive description of the situation from Jim very shortly.