March 25, 2009

NLL Notebook: Snider Could Return Saturday

by Theresa Smith | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Injured Philadelphia Wings all-star Geoff Snider, projected to return April 4-5, said he could return Saturday against visiting Colorado.

Snider fractured his trachea Feb. 27 when he was hit by an inadvertent stick against Edmonton. He had difficulty breathing and speaking on the team flight later that evening to Portland, as the area swelled and oxygen leaked into his chest.

The swelling subsided after a three-day stay in a Portland hospital. The seriousness of the situation was expressed by a doctor who told Snider that he was lucky he didn't die.

Snider, a transition player and the NLL faceoff leader, started running and lifting weights a week ago. He underwent a CAT scan on Monday and will be examined by a Philadelphia specialist on Friday.

"There isn't any more air leaking and the fracture is healing well," Snider said Tuesday.

As for the possibility of a Saturday return, he said: "I want to play. I want to help us win. I haven't spoken with the doctors yet about what the risk I will be taking by playing, if any. It could be I'm 100 percent and ready to go. But I won't know until Friday when I see a specialist. It will be what he and I come to grips on."

Given Snider's competitive nature, relatives have expressed concerns about him returning to the floor too soon.

"My mom's worried about me; she's always worried about me, it doesn't change, day to day," he said.

"It is a dangerous sport. It is a risky sport. Certainly, I could walk out on the street and get hit by a bus tomorrow. If my life was to come to an abrupt halt, I'd rather be playing lacrosse than be in a car accident or something like that.

Depending on what happens with the doctors, I'm going to do what they tell me to do. They're the experts; they're the professionals. I'd be willing to play through anything. It is just a matter of them giving me the green light or not."

The Last Roommate Standing

Dan Carey moved to Denver from Ontario to take a job in the Mammoth front office. Nenad Gajic gave up his commuting miles after graduating from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and settled in Denver. And Jamie Shewchuk relocated to the Mile High City from Edmonton.

Together, the young Mammoth rising stars rented an apartment with the idea of sharing cooking and cleaning duties, working out together, playing together, and supporting each other through the highs and lows of an NLL season.

As it turns out, the playing together part fell through.

As part of a string of injuries affecting the Mammoth, Carey has been sidelined the past seven games by headaches and blurred vision, although he is on the mend. And Gajic has missed the past five games with a foot injury that required season-ending surgery.

They join Bruce Murray (season-ending knee surgery) and Gee Nash (season-ending back surgery) on the Colorado sideline.

Shewchuk, the lone injury-free housemate, gave his roomies something to cheer about last Sunday in a 13-11 victory over Minnesota. In his new position on the power play -- at the point -- Shewchuk scored two of his four goals. He also passed out four assists.

His previous best goal total was two, and he increased his season total to 14, which ranks third on the team.

Calgary, Buffalo Could Clinch

Calgary and Buffalo each have the possibility of clinching playoff berths this weekend.

The West Division-leading Roughnecks (8-2) need victories Friday against Toronto and Saturday against Minnesota to clinch a berth; or if San Jose loses both its weekend contests and Edmonton loses to Toronto, Calgary is in.

The Bandits (8-3) have a more complicated mix of consequences. The East Division frontrunners need a win over New York, plus a loss by Philadelphia and at least one loss by the Rock, who play Friday at Calgary and Saturday at Edmonton.

At the other end of the spectrum, with four weekends remaining in the regular season, Toronto, Philadelphia and Rochester are vying for the last of four berths in the East.

In contrast, the West is less definitive except for the extremes -- Calgary's excellence and the struggles of Edmonton (3-8) and San Jose (4-7).

Portland (5-4), Colorado (6-5) and Minnesota (5-6) are no sure bets.

All 12 teams play this weekend with Calgary, Toronto, San Jose and Portland each playing twice. The Stealth and the LumberJax have a home-and-home series on Saturday and Sunday.

New York's matchup against Buffalo on Saturday marks the end of a 27-day gap between games due to scheduling difficulties. Titans scoring leader Casey Powell (26g, 26a) is expected to return after a three-game absence due to an unspecified -- non-concussive according to coach Ed Comeau -- injury.

Goalies Can Dish, Too

One of the most exciting plays in the NLL is the transition goal off a long, accurate outlet pass from the goaltender. Leading the league's netminders in assists so far is San Jose's Matt Roik with five, followed by Boston's Anthony Cosmo and Philadelphia's Brandon Miller with four each.

Toronto's Bob Watson, Minnesota's Kevin Croswell and Rochester's Pat O'Toole each have three.

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