Photo by Sean Carpenter – UltiPhotos.com
The Rumble hit the injury bug at a crucial point of the season, losing three major contributors in Chris Mazur, Joe Anderson and Dan Heijmen at different points of the game this past Saturday against the Current.
The most notable loss was Chris Mazur, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the 1st quarter and would not return in the game. Mazur, the league’s leading scorer with 45 points going into the game, was clearing up-line out of the primary dump position when he may have stepped on the foot of DC’s Kevin Neeley, rolling onto his ankle with his full weight. Mazur stayed down for a couple minutes and would need to be helped off the field.
A lingering injury that he has been playing through most of the season, he’s trying some aggressive rehab this week to see how quickly it progresses. However, Mazur said, “It would be extremely difficult to keep me out of cleats for the last weekend of the season.”
Joe Anderson and Dan Heijmen also left the game Saturday night, both in overtime. Anderson, a stalwart on the D-line, left the game with a left calf pull as he was making an in-cut. Already limited by a back cramp that was affecting his breathing, he wouldn’t return to the game.
“As I tried to walk it off, I simply couldn’t run the same way and knew I could damage it further,” said Anderson.
Despite the injury, he says he fully expects to play at a high level the next two games. Anderson credits Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Wicus for helping him through his injuries this season, making him as healthy as he can be for the playoff push.
Heijmen also went down for the Rumble during overtime. Although he would later return, it was evident that he was not playing at the same speed he had been earlier in the game.
Mazur, Anderson and Heijmen hope to avoid finding a spot on a growing list of injured players for the Rumble, with Milo Snyder, Andrew Wilkes, Austin Raymond and Lionel Winniger already missing significant time this season. However, Wilkes and Raymond have recently returned to action to help provide some depth for New York.
Despite the injuries, the Rumble proved how deep of a team they were, with many players stepping up to force overtime against DC.
“I think the injuries our team sustained will bring us closer. The fact that multiple people were either absent or hurt and having still taken the game to OT shows that we are much deeper than we get credit for,” said Anderson. It will ultimately come down to the coaches’ decision in how they want to play out the next two games, but with the final weekend of the season upon us and a playoff spot on the line, the next two weeks remain critical for the Rumble’s top players to get healthy.