Achilles injury may jeopardize Peters' career

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Achilles injury may jeopardize Peters' career

Jason Peters Achilles injury may not only threaten his 2012 season. According to noted physician Dr. Mark Schwartz, it may jeopardize his career.

Schwartz, appearing on Daily News Live on Friday, said recent medical studies show that many NFL players who suffer a ruptured Achilles tendon are never able to return to football.

Peters, a five-time Pro Bowl left tackle, will undergo surgery Tuesday in Philadelphia after rupturing his Achilles while working out near his home in Texas (see story).

This is definitely a devastating injury to any NFL player, said Schwartz, co-director of Virtua Hospitals sports medicine program. Theyve done some good studies on this particular injury in the NFL and the sad part is only two-thirds of NFL players sustaining Achilles tendon ruptures actually got back into the game, so one-third of NFL players who sustain this type of injury were not able to return back.

Of those who did return back, the average length of recovery was almost 11 months prior to returning, with a minimum of seven months ... and unfortunately those who did get back, there was a decrease ... in their ability to perform on the field. So this is a significant injury to a player in the NFL, especially an offensive lineman who weighs 330 pounds and relies on the explosiveness of his legs and his feet.

Former Eagle wide receiver Todd Pinkston, who led the NFL in yards per catch in 2004, suffered a ruptured Achilles in training camp in 2005 and never played again.

NFL opening day is a little more than five months away. The playoffs are scheduled to start on Dec. 29, which is nine months away.

Peters injury appears to be similar to Ryan Howards torn Achilles, suffered on the last play of the Phillies 2011 season. The Phillies hope Howard returns in June, which would be eight months out from his injury.

But Schwartz said there are complications that could make that fast a return impossible for somebody of Peters size -- 6-foot-4, 330 pounds.

Part of the difference is the size and the bulk of these NFL players, particularly an offensive lineman who weighs 330 pounds, and all that weight is being transmitted down the body, down the legs, Schwartz said.

And also, when you play offensive line, theres a lot of explosiveness. Each play, youre coming up, youre coming out and youre putting forth right down on that leg, as opposed to baseball, where you dont have that exact explosiveness and power coming off the lower extremities continually after each play.

Schwartz said there are other factors that could hinder Peters rehab and slow down his return, among them, disc issues, wound healing and seromas -- an accumulation of fluid that often occurs following surgery.

Were going to keep our fingers crossed and hope he doesnt have some of those problems, Schwartz said. And if he can avoid some of these potential complications ... optimistically, youre looking at toward the end of the regular season. And even when he does come back, its hard to imagine him coming back at his previous level right away.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com

Phillies finish off road trip with win in 10 innings to sweep Diamondbacks

Phillies finish off road trip with win in 10 innings to sweep Diamondbacks

BOX SCORE

PHOENIX – One element of a successful team is finding different ways to win.

That appears to be an important dimension the Phillies captured this week in the desert. After taking the opening two games of a series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phillies found another way to claim victory.

The come-from-behind method appears to be working just fine these days, and that element of their game surfaced again Wednesday afternoon. Down 4-2 early, the Phillies rallied for single runs in the fifth and seventh. Then they put up a crooked number in the eighth inning (four runs) before tacking on one more at the finish. The end result was a satisfying 9-8 win in 10 innings over the Diamondbacks before 18,603 in Chase Field (see Instant Replay).

The win completed a three-game sweep in the desert, and that came after the Arizona swept the Phillies June 17-20 at Citizens Bank Park. The three consecutive victories are the Phils' most since they won three straight from May 12-14 as they finished their nine-game road trip with a 5-4 mark.

While the sweep itself was not terribly significant, offered manager Pete Mackanin, the way the Phillies completed the road trip is important. Through the three-city trip of Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco and Phoenix, the bats game alive and Vince Velesquez, came of the disabled list with a stellar effort Monday.

Now, the goal is the keep the momentum gained from the sweep and build on recent achievements.

“The key over the past week is guys having good at-bats,” said Peter Bourjos, who is hitting .471 in his last 17 games. “At this point, we’re not changing anything, and if we continue to do what we accomplished over the past week, we’ll be fine.”

If Velasquez’s effort electrified the pitching staff, then Bourjos' tear has rejuvenated the offense. That .471 average (24 for 51) over the last 17 games leads the majors. Bourjos also has a nine-game hitting streak over that span after going 2 for 5 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored on Wednesday.

If the Phillies proved anything during the sweep of the Diamondbacks, it's that this is a resilient group. Hitting, like good pitching, is contagious and after banging out a season-high 16 hits Tuesday night, the Phillies increased that production by one on Wednesday.

Though not around for nearly half this game, starter Zach Eflin gave the Phillies a strong effort. After giving up a three-run, first-inning homer to Jake Lamb and another run in the second, Eflin settled down and pitched effectively. From the time Arizona scored on a Jean Segura sacrifice fly in the second, Eflin retired 14 of the next 16 hitters he faced.

“I started to pitch inside and wanted to keep them guessing,” Eflin said. “It was important for me to keep them off-balance and not get set. It’s about being aggressive and keeping them off-balance.”

Similar to Jerad Eickhoff, Eflin has been a victim of little run support. When he left after six innings, the Phillies were behind 4-2. Through his initial three starts in the majors, Eflin received only two total runs of support in 14 1/3 innings. That equates to 1.26 runs per nine innings.

However, the Phillies eventually found their offense in the win. With single runs in the fifth and seventh, and that four-spot in the eight, they managed to forge an 8-7 lead. 

The Phillies appeared to have this one locked down before Andres Blanco thought about going home on a roller to third base with two outs in the eighth inning before ultimately making an errant throw to first for the team's second error of the day.

The Phillies were able to go back on top in the 10th when Bourjos singled with one out and moved to second on single from Cody Asche. Hitting for winning pitcher Jeanmar Gomez, Tyler Goeddel lifted a fly to right and that brought in Bourjos with the game-winning run. 

Lefty Brett Oberholtzer retired the Diamondbacks in the 10th and recorded his first major-league save.

NCAA wants to question 2 1970s-era Jerry Sandusky accusers

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AP

NCAA wants to question 2 1970s-era Jerry Sandusky accusers

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The NCAA wants to question two men who claim they were sexually abused in the 1970s by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The NCAA says it needs that information to defend itself from a defamation lawsuit filed by the family of Joe Paterno, the team's late head coach.

One of the men says he told Paterno in 1976 that he was abused by Sandusky. He's asked a judge to protect his identity and limit questioning by lawyers in the Paterno family's suit against the NCAA.

The Centre Daily Times reports that the NCAA doesn't want to embarrass or publicly identify the man. But the NCAA says if his claims and those of another man who claimed he was abused in the 1970s are true, it would be an absolute defense in the defamation lawsuit.

Union rally to reach Open Cup quarterfinals amid ejection-filled finish

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USA Today Images

Union rally to reach Open Cup quarterfinals amid ejection-filled finish

CHESTER, Pa. — The Union’s U.S. Open Cup magic continues. 

Extending their quest for a third consecutive Open Cup title run, the determined Union came from behind to topple the New York Red Bulls, 2-1, in the Round of 16 on Wednesday night at Talen Energy Stadium.

“That’s a big-boy win, because that’s a good Red Bull team,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “I thought we stood up in the second half and showed we’re a darn good team, too.”

As victors, the Union advance to the Open Cup quarterfinals, where they will visit the New England Revolution on July 20. The Union’s Open Cup record extends to 10-2-0 over the last three tournaments and 14-6 all time.

“We’re happy with this result and whoever we play next, it’ll be another fight,” Union veteran Brian Carroll said. “We’ll be up for the challenge when it comes. But we want to enjoy this now.”

Wednesday was a match of two completely different halves for the Union. 

“Players win games, coaches lose them and referees ruin them,” Curtin said. “It’s all credit to my players, it doesn’t have anything to do with me.”

The hosts were utterly dominated by the Red Bulls' high press in the first half, getting outshot, 13-1, and trailing, 1-0, when a free kick played into the box deflected off Chris Pontius and right to Mike Grella. The forward powered his shot to the right of Andre Blake for the 17th-minute lead.

“I tried to inform our team that in the second half Philly was going to pick it up,” said Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch, whose club was outshot 7-3 in the second half. “That they were going to get laid into by their coach because they got their butts whipped in the first half."

And Marsch was right. In the 55th minute, a perfectly played through ball from Ilsinho found a streaking Pontius, who split the Red Bulls' defense, gathered the ball and fired off a right-footed shot past Ryan Meara to tie the match at 1-1.

“I see [Ilsinho] has some space, I see they’re playing pretty flat-footed, so I made a run across,” Pontius said. “He plays me a great ball, and at that point I know Meara is going to be coming out, so I tried to chip it over him at the back post.”

With momentum leaning heavily in the Union’s favor, the pair connected again in the 60th minute. Off the rush, Tranquillo Barnetta slung a right-wing pass to Ilsinho, who, while on the move and with the Red Bulls' defense closing, launched a cross that landed at the feet of Pontius, who one-timed it home for the 2-1 Union lead.

“We were able to break pressure. That was the major turning point,” Union midfielder Warren Creavalle said. “Once we were able to break pressure, we forced them to spend a little more energy and we were able to put the game back on our terms.” 

The match unraveled in stoppage time when Union assistant coach Mike Sorber was ejected for tossing a ball onto the field of play. Moments later, Marsch was ejected for arguing a call. On his way out, Marsch picked up two game balls from the scorekeeper’s desk and chucked them at the Union bench, before storming off.

“I had to try to induce change with the referee somehow because he was basically calling every foul for the Union,” Marsch said. “Laughable.”

Curtin, a former teammate and current friend of Marsch, said the Red Bulls coach wasn’t aiming for him with his ball throw, but that the sight of Marsch red with anger brought back memories.

“Jesse and I are good friends from old times,” the coach said. “But I like to beat him and he likes to beat me. We’re competitive. I think it’s the heat of the moment. Jesse was upset with the referees, obviously. Maybe lost his temper a bit, but I’ve seen that face before in training sessions and it still does make me smile.”