Just hope Cole Hamels minor spring injury goes better than that one time with Chase Utley

Just hope Cole Hamels minor spring injury goes better than that one time with Chase Utley

Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels announced he's likely to miss Opening Day after experiencing discomfort in his pitching shoulder this offseason. But, ‘No biggie!’ Hamels and the Phillies would have you believe.

Per CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury on Wednesday:

“I see myself pitching in April,” Hamels said. “I just wanted to be up front with everyone. ...  Don’t feel alarmed.”

Hamels and the Phillies would also have you believe Hamels didn't undergo an MRI three months ago, when Hamels said the discomfort first arose. This, for their prized, home-grown, left-handed twentysomething inked to the largest contract in Philly sports history: six years, $126 million. No MRI, perhaps modern medicine's most revealing diagnostic and one that, for a pro sports team, couldn't be easier to get.

You might recall this seemingly innocuous report about Chase Utley, and the discomfort he experienced before the 2011 season, dribbled out on Feb. 28. Headline: “Utley says knee tendinitis is ‘minor blip.’”

Some excerpts, highlights in bold:

Said Utley: “I hope it's just a minor blip. I think we have the right people checking it out. I think the work ethic is going to be there in terms of trying to improve it. So in that aspect I think it's all good."

Said Charlie Manuel: "I think that all that can be taken care of. ... I'm concerned about it, of course. But at the same time, I feel just like I did [Saturday] before I knew anything [about the MRI]. It'll take a few days for him to get well, but he will, and we'll have plenty of time to get him ready for the start of the season."

Utley, you may remember, wasn’t ready for the start of the season. Or the next.

This isn’t about challenging the Phillies, who are no less believable than anyone else in pro sports. NHL injury reports seem a binary proposition: “upper body injury” or “lower body injury.” (And, I suppose, a third: “Brayden Holtby’d.”) Patriots head coach Bill Belichick consistently draws ire in the NFL for his injury reports. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly just so happens to forget to consult team doctors... ever.

The point is, when it comes to player injuries, nobody is entirely forthcoming. Everybody is thoroughly vague, at best, utterly misleading, at worst. Which assumes teams, players and doctors know the severity of an injury when they choose to instinctively downplay it. They don't. Often times, they can't. (All of which apply to the patently bizarre Roy Halladay injury saga that spanned 18 months.)

So for you, the fan scrounging for hope and the clinging to the A.J. Burnett signing – not so coincidentally leaked moments after Hamels was “upfront” – don’t buy it. You don’t necessarily have to break the glass and assume the worst. Just know, crossing your fingers for the best is just that – crossing your fingers.

Especially after the last time a Phillies star came up with a "nontroversial" injury in spring training.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @MKH973 Catch him every Saturday from 12-2 on 97.3 ESPN-FM.

Radko Gudas shooting pucks, 'pretty close' to 100 percent

Radko Gudas shooting pucks, 'pretty close' to 100 percent

VOORHEES, N.J. — Radko Gudas (wrist) is closer to game action as the Flyers’ defenseman has been cleared to shoot pucks for the “past couple of days.”
The 26-year-old, recovering from a fractured right wrist (his shooting hand), was shooting and hitting in practice Wednesday at Flyers Skate Zone. Gudas has yet to play in a preseason game, but said he’s “pretty close” to 100 percent.
“I can’t say it’s really 100 percent, but it’s getting there soon,” Gudas said following practice.
“There’s a lot of time for me to get in top, game-like shape. There’s not a chance I would miss the start of the season.”
Gudas said the most important aspect of the wrist’s healing is keeping it stable by wearing a brace to limit too much moving.
“It’s better, I’m shooting on it in practices, feels better every day,” he said. “I’m working on a lot of it every day with the strength guys and the doctors here. We’re going day to day, I’m seeing myself sooner than later jumping on the ice.”
The second-year Flyer would like to play in preseason games before the start of the regular season, but also understands the importance of not rushing to avoid costing him regular-season games as a result.
“That’s the main part — feeling pain-free,” Gudas said. “Throughout the season, there’s not a lot of time off so we need to make sure everything is the best it can be before the season starts.
“Obviously it’s going to be the coaches’ decision when to put me in. I’m sure they’re talking with the staff for when would be the proper time.”
Gudas signed a four-year contract extension in June after playing a career-high 76 games and recording 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 2015-16.
After practice, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol did not have an update on Gudas or defenseman Nick Schultz, who was shaken up Tuesday night.
“Everybody wants to play at least a game or two before the season,” Gudas said. “I don’t think it needs to be said.
“He wants to have me ready and I want to be ready.”

Now 22/1 to win Super Bowl, Eagles also the NFC East favorite

Now 22/1 to win Super Bowl, Eagles also the NFC East favorite

The Eagles crushed a Super Bowl contender on Sunday at the Linc. And Vegas took notice.

According to Bovada, the Eagles' odds to win the Super Bowl went from 33/1 to 22/1. Just nine teams have shorter odds to win the Super Bowl. The Patriots are tops at 15/4, followed by the Packers (8/1) and the team the Eagles beat, the Steelers (9/1).

With the win, the Eagles also became the favorite to win the NFC East, going from 11/4 to 2/1. They're followed by the Cowboys and Giants (both at 11/5) and last year's division champs, Washington, is at 6/1.

The Eagles are also 12/1 to win the NFC.

Of course, the biggest story for the Eagles this season has been the emergence of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. He had his first 300-yard passing game Sunday and was named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week. His odds to win MVP went from 50/1 to 33/1. Those are the same odds as Drew Brees and Eli Manning.

Meanwhile, former Eagles quarterback and current Minnesota Viking Sam Bradford went from 50/1 to 25/1 to win MVP.

While Wentz's MVP odds shortened, his odds to win Rookie of the Year actually got longer, going from 8/5 to 7/4. That could have something to do with the odds of Ezekiel Elliot (7/4), Dak Prescott (5/1) and Sterling Shepard (7/1) all improving.