While there is a collective sigh of relief that the injury to Mark Sanchez is not as sever as an ACL or MCL injury there should still be cause for concern.
In talking to a couple of Sports Medicine surgeons here in NYC last night the general consensus is that while the injury is naturally being downplayed as not as bad as the alternative this is still a big deal. My write-up on The Dislocated Patella shows the varying degrees of this injury, but the two surgeons that I talked to both said that in these cases there is almost always some minor tearing of the Retinaculum. This is important because it can result in a longer rehab for Sanchez. So while we are now all caught up on what the injury is, the more important issue now is how does it affect USC going forward?
I have read some reports as to how others have been affected like USC assistant Kris Richard or current Laker Andrew Bynum, it would be best to put that out your head as this injury affects everyone differently. The focus now shifts as to who will take Sanchez's place in the near term; Mitch Mustain and Aaron Corp.
Here are Pete Carroll's thought's on the situation from the DN...
"What it means for us is that it's an extraordinary moment for the other two quarterbacks," Carroll said. "Mitch has played a lot of games (at Arkansas), but it's not that valuable in some regards because it's not our system. I'm more concerned about having only two quarterbacks."
...and from the LAT
Carroll said the injury provided an "extraordinary moment" for the Trojans' backups.
"My thought is we have a guy like Mitch and a guy like Aaron that can jump in and take their shots at this thing until Mark's back in here and battling with them," Carroll said. "This is an opportunity and how we deal with it and how we handle it is important. Not the fact that something happened."
Agreed, the train needs to keep on rollin'. Both Mustain and Corp saw significant action in yesterdays practice and both will be gunning for the starting job.
Here are some comments from Mustain in the DN.
"I think it changes (things) a little bit," Mustain said. "This is a perfect couple weeks for us to respond. That's why we're here. I don't think leadership will be a problem. I've played quarterback before."
Mustain said Friday's practice felt different once he and Corp were thrust into more prominent roles.
"I'm sure Mark felt like that when (John David Booty) got hurt (last year)," Mustain said. "It's a natural response."
Opportunity abounds at the oddest times.
Pete Carroll is downplaying Mustain's real game experience while he was at Arkansas because it wasn't in USC's system. I think that's valid but his game experience does give him the ability to adjust while on the field. Would I prefer that Mustain was more in the groove in regards to USC's system? Sure, but sometimes you just need to improvise on the field and we have seen Mustain take charge against some pretty good defenses.
This is yet another reason why Pete Carroll stocks talent. While I was extremely concerned about Sanchez's injury and his status, in the back of my mind I knew it wasn't the end of the world because we had TWO very capable back-ups ready to step up. Yes it will be a little rocky in the early going but we just started practice so there is plenty of time to things situated.
We all want Sanchez healthy and back on the field but having Mustain and Corp ready to step up makes this unfortunate incident a little more palatable, but not by much.
Here is Michael Lev's take on the Petros and Money Show.
Here is Gary Klein's take on KLAC.
Here is David Wharton's take on ESPN.