Friday, October 28, 2011

Minnesota Valkyrie: Bruised but Ready




Will Jocelyn Bendijo be able to replace the steady, yet injured, hand of Jana Skrtic?
Photo Courtesy of LFL360 and J&K; Creative
 
As Coach Tony walked to the locker room at half time of the Minnesota Valkyrie's game against the LA Temptation, he was riding high.  Thoughts of a possible upset were growing as his team had executed a game plan he'd been working on since May or earlier.  The Valkyrie were up 7-6 against the reigning champs, and with the win could go to 2-0 and be in the driver's seat for an expansion season playoff berth.  Then he heard something behind him, it was his QB Jana Skrtic in pain.  He turned to see a trainer, when they made eye contact the trainer shook his head.  The news would then be delivered that Jana had broken her left wrist.  It was news that turned Tony into a form of the Incredible Hulk, only wearing a purple polo.  His halftime speech is a YouTube hit, and actually brings a sly smile from the coach when looking back on a half time that neither he or the Valkyrie players will forget anytime soon.

Unfortunately for the Valkyrie, Jana isn't the only one that left the LA game a bit beat up.  RB Lisa Bastien is still rehabbing her achilles injury from the Green Bay game back in August, she is out of her walking boot and Tony thinks they may test out her leg early in November but a comeback for the Chicago game on November 19th is doubtful at best.  WR Angie Hanson, CB Leah Perzichilli and C Kelli Gillispie all need clearance from a neurologist as they sustained concussions last game.  As for Jana, she not only fractured her left wrist but severely sprained her right wrist, both needed surgery and her recovery timetable is 4-6 weeks. 

Coach Tony is confident he will have his #1 QB back for the season ending match up with the Seattle Mist on January 6th, "She is definitely going to be back...there is no reason why she won't be 100% healthy."

The Chicago game still looms large, as Jana will not be back which leaves Jocelyn Bendijo as the starting QB for the Valkyrie on November 19th.  Jocelyn played the entire second half of the LA game, she actually got a little banged up as well with a slight dislocation of her knee but she was at practice Thursday with a knee brace, running and jogging through the drills. 

Jocelyn was hard at work trying to pick up the offense that Jana had been running, although she had been getting back-up reps in practice up to the LA game, her preparation now as the starter in November is a change.  Jana in one game and a half had run the Valkyrie offense to a win in Green Bay and a lead against the defending champs.  Coach Tony and Coach Lindsay don't want to change their winning formula due to a new QB and will try to get Jocelyn as comfortable with it as Jana was, just in much less time.

A tryout was held earlier this week by the Valkyrie to try to replace some players let go and build up the depth of the team that is a bit injured.  There were some new faces at practice Thursday along with the usual players.  With under a month to prepare for Chicago, one could wonder if the new players will be able to learn the complicated offense the Valkyrie have been using? 

Coach Tony isn't concerned stating that he is, "Very confident in the scheme and I am not concerned about the new players picking it up, we don't have a lot of time but it's enough."

The Valkyrie are looking to recover from a physical match up with the Temptation and go and take on the winless Chicago Bliss.  A win puts them over .500 and in the playoff hunt, setting up a huge game against Seattle in January in which, with some luck, they could be 100% healthy and now experienced after three LFL games.  For now, the Valks mustn't look ahead because as Coach Tony learned on October 14th, in the LFL one minute you can be on cloud 9 and the next minute flipping over a 9 foot table.





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