Good morning, Chicago!
Here’s wishing all of you a happy and healthy 2023.
And here’s wishing the same for all of our Chicago sports teams.
No, for real: Is keeping our better players on the field and court too much to ask in the new year? We’re coming off a crummy 2022 in which injuries played a starring role and a citywide 2023 recovery will depend on the teams staying healthy.
No wonder most of us had our hearts in our throats any time Justin Fields took off running or had the pocket immediately collapse on him during Sunday’s awful 41-10 loss to the Lions.
Think about it.
• Lonzo Ball‘s knee injury early last January derailed the Bulls’ resurrection. Zach LaVine has only recently started to shake off the effects of knee surgery in May. The latest update on Ball was that he’s progressing slowly and it’s hard to imagine we’ll see him back with the Bulls this season.
• The only White Sox stars who stayed healthy from the start of the season to the end were Dylan Cease and Jose Abreu. Tim Anderson only played 79 games, Eloy Jimenez played 84 and Luis Robert and Yasmani Grandal were around for 98 and 99 games, respectively. For as much as we placed the blame on Tony La Russa, the 2022 season looks a lot different with that crew handling a fuller schedule.
• The Cubs were not only hurt by injuries to their top two offseason acquisitions — Marcus Stroman and Seiya Suzuki — but also to a handful of their top prospects in Brennen Davis, Alex Canario, Ed Howard and Miguel Amaya.
• The Bears have seen Darnell Mooney, Eddie Jackson and Jack Sanborn lost for the season while the offensive line and receiving corps has made the case for a revolving door to be installed in the trainers’ room. Teven Jenkins‘ ongoing injury issues — which continued on Sunday — have put a damper on one of the season’s better stories at Halas Hall. Even Fields missed a game after being hurt late in Atlanta.
Injuries are of course a part of any team’s season and the better franchises are equipped to handle the shortcomings when they pop up.
But they’re also the result of bad luck and Chicago teams had plenty of that in 2022.
Let’s hope it changes this year.
The Week Ahead
• One more game week for the Bears before we can dedicate ourselves full-time to draft and free agency talk (though Adam Hoge isn’t sold on both being the cure-all this offseason). Sunday’s loss to the Lions guaranteed the Bears a spot in the top four of the NFL draft and a shot at the No. 1 pick is still in play.
• Hectic schedule ahead for the Bulls. They’re in Cleveland tonight, host Brooklyn on Wednesday, travel to Philadelphia on Friday and get Utah at the United Center on Saturday night. Will Gottlieb tries to find an answer to why Patrick Williams’ development is moving so slowly.
• The Blackhawks kicked off a seven-game homestand with a 5-2 loss to San Jose last night. It continues this week with visits from the Lightning (Tuesday), Coyotes (Friday) and Flames (Sunday).
• Nothing on the schedule for the Cubs or White Sox, though Ryan Herrera does have 23 resolutions for the North Siders in 2023.