Saturday, January 13, 2018


Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Chicago Invitational on Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
World leader Gay tears right ACL/MCL
Gage Gay’s season was turned upside down on Saturday night when the world leader’s right knee buckled underneath of him during his get-off attempting to ride Pit Bull in Round 1.
Gay had made the 8-second mark and tried to land on his feet following the buzzer, only to have his knee pop when he hit the ground.  
The world leader had to be carried to the PBR Sports Medicine room where he was diagnosed by Dr. Tandy Freeman with a torn right ACL and MCL. Gay will undergo an MRI this week to determine whether or not he needs surgery.
Gay will be facing a recovery time between 4.5 to 5 months if he indeed needs to undergo reconstructive knee surgery.
“I felt it pop and it stuck in the ground,” Gay said. “That bull was kind of cutting out on me and going pretty fast across there and it just stuck in the ground and my body kept going. I didn’t even want to try and get up as bad as it hurt.”
Gay, whose ride was disqualified as he was ruled to have left the bucking chute with his spurs in his bull rope, was coming off a 4-for-4 performance at the 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast season-opener last week in New York.
Now the 23-year-old’s world title aspirations take a major step back as he faces the possibility of missing the remainder of the first half.
Freeman said that it isn’t uncommon for some bull riders to avoid surgery to repair a torn ACL.
However, the problem for Gay is that Freeman believes the 23-year-old has a significant MCL tear as well.
“Obviously some of the guys who tear their ACLS don’t get them fix,” Freeman said. “You can ride a bull fine without an ACL and with it taped or brace. It is harder to get away from them. The deal is he has a combined injury. It is not an isolated ACL tear. It is his ACL and MCL. It is a high grade, partial MCL tear. It is not a tweak.”
Freeman added that Gay’s MRI will also determine if Gay can avoid surgery. The the two will discuss what the best solution will be following the MRI.
“We have to look at the menisci because close to 50 percent of people that tear their ACLs tear their meniscus,” Freeman said. “Some meniscus tears are mechanically significant and are repairable, and if you lose a meniscus and you don’t reconstruct an ACL then you get post-traumatic arthritis really quickly. Five, 10, 5 years. So while an isolated ACL tear, or even an ACL with a partial MCL, we talk about the possibility of non-operative treatment, but if he has a meniscal tear that is significant that pushes him to really needing surgery.”
Oliveira capitalizes and gains ground in world title race
Gage Gay’s injury now turns the immediate focus of the 2018 World Championship race to 38-year-old Valdiron de Oliveira.
Oliveira, who unretired in November, sits second in the world standings and chipped away at Gay’s lead with his 86-point ride on Shelly’s Gangster.
The 10-time PBR World Finals qualifier split fourth place with Jordan Hansen (86 points on Slinger) and Guilherme Marchi (86 points on Nailed) and earned 28.33 points toward the world standings.
“I don’t want Gage hurt or have to stay a long time outside of bull riding,” Oliveira said. “I am very happy I am riding good right now. I need to stay on all of my bulls. My position is ok. Number 1. Number 2. Number 3. I don’t care. I just want to ride my bulls.”
Oliveira went 4-for-4 last week in New York and has begun the season with five consecutive rides.
This is Oliveira’s best start since beginning 2011 with nine consecutive rides. Oliveira finished that year runner-up in the World Championship race to Silvano Alves.
Oliveira trails the world No. 1 ranking by 308.34 points heading into Championship Sunday.
He is riding with a minor groin injury and has drawn Overstreet (0-0, Premier Series) for Round 2.
“I feel like I am riding good,” Oliveira concluded. “I feel my body is good now. My head is good.”
Vieira and Davis tie for Round 1 victory
2016 World Champion Cooper Davis had a close-call a week ago when Slinger Jr. stepped on the top of his back during the championship round of the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden.
Davis was sore all week, but said before Round 1 that that he wouldn’t feel any pain as long as he rode his bull correctly.
“It is just a little bit of everything,” Davis said. “My knee. My ankle. Nothing really hurts. It is all just aggravated. If I go in front of my face with my free arm it hurts, but I shouldn’t do that anyways. If I do everything right, nothing should hurt.”
Davis sure looked fine once the gate opened in front of a sell-out crowd of 10,689.
The 23-year-old tied for the Round 1 victory with Joao Ricardo Vieira by riding Luke for 87.25 points.
It is the second consecutive week that Davis has begun the event with a round victory.
“My free arm is sore, but it still feels good,” Davis said. “That is a good little bull to have to test it out and get things started.”
The No. 5 bull rider in the world standings earned 80 world points and is 420 points behind Gay.
Davis will look to finish the job on Sunday after failing to convert last weekend in New York when he began the final day of competition leading the event average.
The Jasper, Texas, cowboy has drawn Uncle Tink (24-7, Premier Series) for Round 2.
Meanwhile, Vieira once again continued his early-season trend of converting aboard bulls he has previously been bucked off by.
Vieira tied with Davis for the round win by riding Maximum Risk for 87.25 points.
It was only a week ago that Maximum Risk bucked Vieira off in 6.42 seconds.
“I am so mad he bucked me off last week,” Vieira said. “I watched video this week and I saw I had him in the draw. I was happy. I said he will not buck me off again.”
Vieira said the primary adjustment he had to make was to make sure he kept his feet down. Maximum Risk quickly got Vieira’s feet jarred free in New York, causing Vieira to lose control.
“It was a fantastic ride,” Vieira said. “I like the revenge because I do not like bucking off. I get so angry when I go to my house. To come back today and ride my bull, I am so happy.”
It was the second week in a row that Vieira has come through with a successful rematch.
Vieira won the championship round in New York by riding Cochise for 90.75 points less than 48 hours after the Gene Owen/Jane Clark bull bucked him off in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
The No. 4 ranked bull rider earned 80 points toward the world standings and trails Gay by 365 points.
Vieira gets another rematch for Championship Sunday against Rocco.
The 33-year-old is 1-1 against Rocco (11-6, Premier Series). He rode him for 84.25 points last year in Chicago and was bucked off by Rocco in 7.86 at the 2016 PBR World Finals.
Injury Updates
Jose Vitor Leme wound up not competing on Saturday night after failing to pass the PBR’s concussion protocol. 

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