To hear the talk about Randy Moss's injury, you'd think one of his legs had had to be amputated rather than iced down after a tweak in practice. Coverage on Boston.com was written in the clinical yet shrill language usually reserved for murders and house fires:
Moss...pulled up midway through Wednesday's practice. Medical trainers applied ice to his upper left leg, and he later left the field under his own power.
Obviously, when your marquee offseason acquisition walks off the field with an apparent injury and then misses practice, it's natural to connect the two. And also to freak out. But as the Patriots in typical fashion have yet to release any official statement on Moss other than to describe him as "good, day-to-day," it's impossible to prove the connection or definitively use Moss's absence as evidence of the injury's severity. It's true the Patriots as a general rule downplay the severity and hide the nature of injuries, but I can't recall them outright lying about whether or not a player was generally in okay shape. They won't tell you, "It's his left fibula and the trainers are trying to figure out WTF to do," but I can't remember them saying a player was "good" when he was flat on his back.
But into that gap, between knowledge and speculation, can live a news story and its associated followups as difficult to dispense with as cockroaches. In fact, unless Moss returns to every session of practice between tomorrow and the opening game of the season, if there isn't much other news out of training camp we could conceivably still be talking about this when the season opens. Speculating about whether or not this will mean he has a slow start to the season. Might the hamstring problems come back? Will he be plauged with hamstring problems throughout the season?! Are we all gonna die?!? I can hear Bob Ryan on Around the Horn even now.
I could eat these words, but until I hear more, I'm not sweating this story overmuch. Injuries of this nature, particularly strain / tweak injuries, are common in training camps as athletes prepare for a season. In baseball, pitchers go through a period of "dead arm" in spring training as a matter of routine. Moss is surely not the only Patriots player nursing soreness somewhere as his body adjusts to an in-season schedule of play.
Personally, I can only imagine whatever sportswriters were covering camp on assignment jumped for joy when Moss grabbed his leg. It's the best thing that could've happened to them on a slow off-season news day.
Especially in a town where the local sports squads have become year-round obsessions, considering the state of the news cycle when seeing reports like this one can sometimes be a balm to jangled nerves.
However, if he misses a week of camp... that'll be another post.