Ragsdale's status for first playoff game doubtful

07/12/02 Bismarck Tribune

When Bismarck Roughriders quarterback Danny Ragsdale hurt his ankle against Billings, Mont., two weeks ago, the hope was that the three-week period before the playoffs would be enough time for the injury to heal.

But with the Riders' first-round game against the Omaha Beef rapidly approaching, his availability remains very much in doubt.

"If the game was played today, would I play?" Ragsdale asked. "No. Definitely not. But I'm feeling 100 percent better than four days ago, and hopefully four days from now I'll feel 100 percent better than I do today."

Ragsdale threw a little bit during Bismarck's practice on Thursday evening, but mostly he just conducted drills in his other capacity as the team's offensive coordinator. His right ankle was obviously still bothering him.

"At this point I'd have to say the chances he'll play on Monday are less than 50-50," Bismarck head coach Collins Sanders said.

Ragsdale said it will likely come down to a game-time decision.

Ragsdale injured his right ankle in the fourth quarter of the 48-20 win over Billings on June 28, the victory that clhed the Pacific West division title for the Riders. His recovery time has been tricky to gauge because of the nature of the injury, according to Bismarck trainer Ray Hall.

Hall explained that Ragsdale had a subluxation, or partial dislocation, of the ankle and was lucky not to have completely dislocated it. Nevertheless, it was not your typical sprain.

"I've never seen another injury like it in eight years," Hall said. "He's got damage to all parts of the ankle."

The bone that Ragsdale broke is not healing because of his intense schedule of rehab, which has included three workouts a day.

"I'm on it all the time trying to rehab it," Ragsdale said. "I'm not giving the bone a chance to heal, but the tendons and ligaments are getting stronger.

"... (Rehab) has become like a full-time job," he added. "The ladies at Medcenter are laughing every time I come in."

Yet if Ragsdale gets the OK from a doctor saying that he is unlikely to do any long-term damage by playing, he likely will take the field against Omaha. If he believes that he is putting himself at an unnecessary risk for a more serious injury, he hopes that his common sense overrules his heart.

"It's easy for me to say I could (not play) now, but come Monday it may be a different story," he said. "I haven't missed a football game (until this injury) since my senior year of high school."

"That's the whole difficult thing about it, if I can put aside my competitiveness," he added.

NOTES: Offensive lineman Grant Brinkman had surgery on his hand, which he broke in the regular season finale, and may play against Omaha. Š Eric Schmidt landed a job as a head high school football head coach at Crookston, Minn., but may return in time for Monday's game.

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