It's day-to-day for Ragsdale's sore ankle

06/28/02 Bismarck Tribune

There was good news and bad news for the Bismarck Roughriders.

The good news was that an MRI showed there were no torn ligaments in quarterback Danny Ragsdale's injured right ankle.

The bad news is that the NIFL playoffs are right around the corner, making this one of the most critical times to lose a high-caliber signal caller.

"There's damage in there and it's a severe sprain, but we were relieved that nothing was torn," said Roughriders head coach Collins Sanders. "Anytime one of your key players gets hurt, it's a concern. We're optimistic that he'll be ready to go for the playoffs."

There is a fractured bone in the ankle, but Ragsdale said he could play with that injury. The quarterback has started a rehabilitation schedule that has him doing two sessions per day along with massage therapy.

"I've got a fractured bone in there, but no torn ligaments," Ragsdale said. "The ligaments are a little bit haywire in there, but we're trying to get the swelling down and I'm rehabbing it twice a day."

Ragsdale injured the ankle early in the fourth quarter of the Riders' 48-20 victory over the Billings Outlaws on Saturday. The quarterback was trying to shake away from a defender on a pass attempt.

"We're just trying to get the swelling down to where we can start strengthening the muscles again," Ragsdale said. "It's pretty sore, but I just have to try and prepare myself to get back out there and play the next game."

Backup Jason Baliko came in and completed all four of his passes, including one for a touchdown to Duane Monlux.

The Roughriders' next game is July 4 in Casper, Wyo., against the Wyoming Cavalry. Bismarck's win over Billings sealed the division title for the Riders, and at least one home playoff game. The playoff game for the Roughriders is set for July 15.

Sanders said Ragsdale would have seen limited action against Wyoming anyway, with Bismarck having wrapped up a home playoff game already.

"He probably wouldn't have played anyway, and if he got in it probably would've only been for a quarter," Sanders said. "We've got all of the tiebreakers against the people behind us, so we're in pretty good shape that way."

The extra week off is one thing Ragsdale has going for him in trying to get his ankle in better shape. Because of the nature of the sprain, there is some strain on the ligaments.

On the average, it would take between six and 12 weeks to fully heal the ankle. Ragsdale and the Roughriders have less than 20 days.

"I'm very frustrated, but I'm a goal-oriented guy," Ragsdale said. "My goal now is to get ready for this playoff game. I'm doing all I can to get back because I want to play in that game."

Sanders said he knows Ragsdale's competitive nature will have the quarterback ready to go for the playoff game, even if he has to play through some pain.

"I know Danny. He's a competitor, and it will be his decision when it comes down to it," Sanders said. "I know if he can get out of bed that morning, he'll find a way to be out there on the field."

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