As my father would mutter sympathetically on the way home from little league, “… sports are hard.”  Never are they harder than when people’s bodies are brutalized beyond the point of immediate repair.  The Philly sportscape is on the rise at the moment, but like all good things, it hasn’t come without horrifying casualties.

Lou Williams

We went from “Damn it, Lou,” to “DAMN IT, LOU!” pretty quick the other day.  What you can’t tell from that description is the first “Damn it” was for when he stayed out too late the night before the Kings game at a Lil Wayne concert and the second was for when he hit that game-tying three from way downtown to send the game into overtime.  We then lost at home to one of the worst teams in the NBA.  I remember because that game was being replayed in a bar and this guy kept demanding to know what was going o happen, refusing to believe me when I told him the truth.

He also mentioned his wife had just left him and now all he had was the Sixers, so I probably just should have lied and ripped the TV out of the wall.  But I was secretly hoping it would end differently myself, like I always do when I’m watching Atonement.

Anyways, Lou’s gone and strained himself a hamstring, and he didn’t even do it at a Lil Wayne concert, so it couldn’t have been worth it.  The Sixers just trickled into the playoffs, and given their seed, they’re going to face Miami or Boston in the first round, which is like catching the SEPTA bus only to get your hair stuck in the door.  Without Lou, the Sixers have to make due with an Evan Turner-Antonio Daniels-wtf cocktail in his place.

In the midst of a drug-induced hallucination, an injured Antonio Daniels thinks he is in the middle of an awesome dunk as a concerned friend looks on.

The Sixers will not win the NBA Finals this year.

Chase Utley

It was only a matter of time before Chase overhandsomed himself, but now he may not even get that chance.  It’s not his face that’s the problem, because it is a face that could solve world conflicts if given enough exposure.  It’s his knee; the “irritated neighbor” of joints.

Yes, Chase has some sort of condition that uses all of the letters of the alphabet to be spelled, but most importantly, keeps him from playing baseball for months at a time.  He can now be found in the Phillies dugout during games, hands thrust defiantly into the pockets of an unnecessary warm up jacket; each of his high-fives to teammates seered by a small twinge of hideous envy.

Chase’s bat hasn’t been noticeably missed yet, because we’ve only played three games, and we’ve won them all.  Rest assured, if we should happen to lose one during his absence, all eyes will immediately turn to the time table on Chase’s cortisone-flooded knee.

Until then, it’s Wilson Valdez time!

But for Wilson Valdez, its always Wilson Valdez time.

Brad Lidge

Being the occasionally wounded closer, Brad dangled so helplessly on the edge of the Phillies that when the season started, he got overstimulated from all the excitement, and kind of just fell off.  Now god knows where he is and when he’ll be back and if anybody’s aware that he’s gone.

That’s not really fair.  Brad has the enthusiasm of a child, and Charlie Manuel is like the loyal father of the kid whose enthusiasm is sometimes all he has.

A quick recap:  Brad was legendary in 2008, god forsaken in 2009, and reliable in 2010.  He gets hurt sometimes and he’s got a sizable contract and he’s in the last year of it.  With the latest malfunctioning body part (shoulder), Brad’s story seems to be heading closer and closer to a weary departure from Philadelphia.  There are two other healthy guys who want his job, and one is Ryan Madson, the flameballing young set-up man with the only agent in the league who has a tail and appears when certain Bible passages are read backwards in the dark.

Brad and his body can’t compete with that at the moment, no matter how much enthusiasm he summons.  So get well soon, Brad.  Like… real soon.

Danny Briere

Oh, those crazy Flyers.  What will they do next.  Win?  Lose?  Probably lose.  They lose a lot lately.

They lose more without Danny Briere, whose lower body soreness removed him from the lineup a few days ago.  Which is jarring, when you consider that Danny hasn’t missed a whole lot of games this year–none for injury, but three for cross checking the fuck out of Frans Nielsen, who is a hockey player for the New York Islanders, and not a door-to-door thesaurus salesman like he sounds.

Though on the hole, this isn’t a ridiculous concept.  Danny missed seven games last year and only played in 29 in 2008-09.  The guy’s body is a pain-sponge.  And with 32 goals for the season, he’s also a love-sponge.  Which of his spongings caused his lower body soreness is still up in the air.

Chris Pronger

As somebody just explained to me, Pronger is like a professor with tenure.  Only he keeps throwing his students against the wall and punching them until somebody makes him stop.  Tragically, this hilarious process has come to a stop because his primary punching hand is on the fritz.

One of the reasons Chris is so good is because he refuses to come off the ice.

“Get in here!” they shout at him from the bench.  “You’ve been out there for hours, and the game’s over!”

But he just continues skating around in ominous silence, waiting until the next day, when opposing players are back on the ice and everything makes sense again.  So right now, with his injury expected to sideline him three-four weeks being set back even further until the playoffs, there’s no telling what his mindset is like.  Probably something along the lines of “terrible.”

You see, they wanted to fix his hand by shoving a pin into it, so they did that about three weeks ago, but everybody’s so anxious to see him back out there that they probably rushed it a little bit, and now he’s just furious man with a pin crammed between his broken hand-bones with no hockey to use as an outlet for his natural horrifying rage.  So the hope is he can get back out there before this sounds anymore like the origin story of a serial killer.

Blair Betts

Blair’s got what’s known in the medical industry as an “unspecified lower-body injury,” which, if that’s what the doctor told him, they may want to consider that the real doctor is tied up in the closet.

The thing Blair does better than anyone is win face offs.  On the Flyers, he’s got the highest win rate, keeping it over 50%.  By 0.3%.  Given the circumstances of Pronger’s injury and then the lengthening of his time out because they “did it wrong,” nobody’s going to hurry along Blair or Danny’s recovery, on the off chance that they stick a pin in them and make things even worse.

So, what do you do?  Do you get everybody healthy so they can teach this league a lesson, starting with the dumb fucking Capitals who think they’re so great, and then start the playoffs with an exhausted team of ass-kickers; or do you accept that the playoffs are a foregone conclusion and we can slide across the finish line backwards, upside down, and on fire, as long as everyone’s wearing their seat belt.

Blair’s not the flashiest Flyer, so you’re probably not familiar with him, being a materialistic whore like you are.  Sorry.  You can’t compose a list of the physical derangement of  your favorite athletes without becoming a grim, twisted monster, so forgive me if I lash out.  Or don’t.  Honestly, who cares.  Everybody’s dead anyway.