Rutty’s absence may boost Bobcats

Chris Leary

The biggest sports news from winter vacation has been the absence of senior forward Justin Rutty, who has been out of action following surgery to repair two bone chips in his elbow.

I know the Quinnipiac community immediately hit the panic button, and the Bobcats have gone 3-4 without Rutty, but I’m not too concerned. In fact, I’ve thought nothing of it. This season will be judged on one thing, and one thing alone: making the NCAA Tournament. Now is the time to be facing injury problems and adversity, so that when the NEC Tournament rolls around, they’ll hit the ground running.

Missing Rutty for a few weeks could actually be the best thing for this team. Having to play without their best player will make this team better. Yes, they will be far better when Rutty comes back, but they need to learn how to play without him. The Bobcats need to be able to step up in the important games when Rutty isn’t at his best, and not rely on him to lead the team night in and night out.

Look at the Pittsburgh Steelers. They played a quarter of their season without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Once he came back, the team never looked back, and are now sitting pretty in the Super Bowl.

I see it every weekend, really. I’m the best player in flip cup, projected to win every game, and have to leave my team for a few games to hit on countless smoke shows. While I’m gone, they learn how to lead themselves, and more importantly, lead each other. So imagine what it’s like once I get back, we become men among boys … and girls.

My point is that although the injury to Rutty may cost the Bobcats home-court advantage, favorable tournament seeding and the first draft lottery pick in school history, there’s no sense in getting worried. Every great team in sports history has been punched in the mouth during the season; it’s what helps a team reach its true potential.

So what should the team do in Rutty’s absence? Obviously they need to feed the rock to James Johnson so he can make it rain against Robert Morris. The guy’s a peacock; you gotta let him fly.

The best part of this whole injury situation is that when Quinnipiac makes it to March Madness, their record will land them a 16-seed. So not only will it be the Bobcats’ first tournament berth, but they’ll get to be the first 16-seed to ever win a game in the tournament. Watch your back, Duke Blue Devils.