Thursday, September 15, 2016

What's The Point Of The Injury Report?

Like all major leagues (at least in the U.S/Canada) MLS has an official injury report that teams are required to keep updated.  Well required may be too strong a word.  Heavily encouraged seems to be as far as MLS is going at this point which brings us to the question.  What's the point?

Really the injury report serves two purposes.  Its an official record of players who are out for other teams to reference and it helps gamblers.  Really that's all its for.  So why does it matter to the rest of the fans?  Well for one, in a league that gets less media attention it give the fans an idea of what's going on with the teams.  Secondly, its (in theory) an accurate update of the current player status which prevents rumors from getting started and spreading.

A couple years ago MLS made a change to their injury report.  Instead of Out, Doubtful, Questionable, and Probable they reduced it to Out and Questionable.  Ever since then the reports have become less timely and less accurate, and its gotten particularly bad this year.

A month ago when we played in LA the week before Keane suffered a head blow and to the fans it was pretty clear he was concussed but LA said nothing about it until the day before our game and even then Arena said he was just going through a protocol when asked about availability for our game (he never mentioned concussion). Keane did not appear on the official injury report at either or the Rapids game preview. Keane didn't play, then the next day there was an article about him being in the concussion protocol.

When we played in Salt Lake there was no news about Hairston or Le Toux being injured. They weren't listed in the injury report in either location. Yet the Rapids knew about it enough ahead of time to recall Calvert from Charlotte and Doyle from the Springs and have them dressed in Sandy for the game.  This past week Gashi and Hairston were injured but never appeared on a injury report.  It was just Serna, Jones, and St. Ledger listed before the game.  St. Ledger has been Questionable for a month and has yet to dress.  That seems more like Out to me.

A few years ago MLS took this much more seriously.  In what I believe would have been Beckham's last appearance in Colorado he didn't travel but LA didn't list him as Out for the game.  Turns out he had a back issue (or he didn't want to travel, something Beckham seemed to do at times).  MLS slapped LA with a fine for not reporting him as Out.  I think what has happened is when MLS made the change in the injury report they started letting teams update them on their own instead of having a central person do it.  The listings for each team are updated at different times and they use different formats.  It seems like multiple people are doing it, which allows each team to be as open or not as they want.

Right now the injury report is worse than not having one.  It spreads incorrect (or at the least, incomplete) information and leaves fans with more questions rather than less.  MLS would do better to make it private between the teams if they aren't going to fix it.  Leaving it as it is just leads to confused fans and the start of rumors.  That doesn't help anyone.

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