SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Markus Mariluch heard a loud pop in his right arm on Friday night and immediately jumped off Jo Jo in 3.82 seconds.
Looking back, he wishes he would have just tried to stay on, but he knew something was wrong.
Mariluch’s instincts were correct, and Dr. Tandy Freeman and the PBR sports medicine staff discovered that the 28-year-old tore his right biceps in is his riding arm. The injury will require surgery and a six-month recovery.
However, Mariluch, who began the PFIWestern.com Invitational 10th in the world standings, is going to try and hold off on surgery until after the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals. He expects to miss the majority of the remaining Built Ford Tough Series events leading up to Finals.
Mariluch said he is going to try and potentially compete in three weeks at the Battle at the Beau in Biloxi, Mississippi, to test out his arm and get a couple of bulls underneath him before Las Vegas.
The reality was a tough pill to swallow.
“When Tandy said I had to have surgery and will be sitting out six months, I just wanted to freaking cry and tear everything up,” Mariluch said. “(It) was one of the most depressing nights of my life ever. I guess it happens. It is part of the sport, but I am sitting inside the Top 10 and possibly have a chance at a world title. I am a couple thousand points behind and you finish out the rest of the year riding a bunch of bulls.
“We put so much time and effort into this and grit it out all through the year and you fight through all kinds of pains and this happens.”
Mariluch, who had also hyperextended his right elbow last weekend, has been having a career-year and was coming off a personal-best 90.25-point ride last weekend at the Jack Daniel’s Invitational on Jack Daniel’s After Party. His third-place finish in Nashville, Tennessee, was his fifth Top-5 finish this season, which is a career-high along with his six Top-10 performances.
He had competed in every BFTS event this year and his potential was beginning to translate into success on the PBR’s main tour. 2014 has been his first full-season on tour after struggling with injuries the past two years. He had to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery in 2012, and last year he missed a month of action with a broken forearm.
Mariluch believes the injury happened on Friday night during Jo Jo’s first jump out of the chutes.
“It felt like my elbow was trying to come out the front after that,” he said. “As soon as I jumped off I grabbed my arm and I could tell that my bicep was at the top of my arm.”
Freeman said normally he would’ve had Mariluch in for surgery this week if not for the fact that the Elko, Nevada, bull rider has qualified for the World Finals.
“It is one of those things, from his standpoint he has gone all year and he wants to compete,” Freeman said. “If this happened six weeks ago, we wouldn’t have that discussion. We would just go ahead and fix it. We will just have to see how he feels. Will be he be competitive? That is the issue. Who knows, but it is still fixable at six weeks.”
Freeman added that it will not be impossible for Mariluch to be able to ride with the injury, but it still could be difficult. He is going to feel completely different now and will not be nearly as strong as he used to be. Therefore, Mariluch is going to try and rehab the injury and get on a few practice bulls before Finals.
“Tandy told me I definitely will want to get on a couple of bulls before I get to Finals,” Mariluch said. “I am going to get on some practice bulls and I would like to go to one of the Built Ford Tough events that is left so I can get on some rank caliber bulls and I can see how it feels.”
All he can do now is just look forward.
“It is part of it and I am getting through it. I just wish this could have happened at the Finals or after the Finals. It is definitely no fun.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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