Behind the Chutes: Triplett Tears PCL and MCL

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Here are three things we learned following Round 2 of the Ty Murray Invitational at the WisePies Arena, aka The Pit, on Saturday night.

Triplett tears left PCL and MCL in Round 2

World leader Matt Triplett was a dealt a major blow to his hunt for his first career world title when he was kicked in the left leg by Coyote after being thrown from the bull at the 3.69-second mark during the second round.

Triplett immediately grasped at his left knee once he hit the ground and had to be helped out of the arena by the PBR sports medicine staff.

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Triplett has torn his left MCL and PCL and will be out for the foreseeable future:

“He was kicked by the bull and he has torn the posterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament of his left knee,” Freeman said. “He is not going to be riding tomorrow, and we will be getting an MRI (this week) to confirm everything and make sure he doesn’t have any meniscal damage.

“We will have a long talk about what his options are, but the history with trying to go back with this injury too quickly isn’t very good, so he is likely out until the summer break. But that decision hasn’t been made yet.”

Triplett is tied for the BFTS lead in event wins (two) and round wins (five). The 23-year-old was riding at a career-best, 52.63-percent clip (20-for-38) at the time of the injury.

He leads No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira by 685 points in the world standings.

Harris wins Round 2 and is itching for rematch with Mick E Mouse

J.W. Harris won Round 2 on Saturday night with an 87.25-point ride on Wesley’s Pet to gain another 100 points toward the world standings.

However, the bigger news was that a confident Harris made it clear he has all intentions of selecting the currently undefeated Mick E Mouse (32-0, BFTS) on Sunday afternoon in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round if he has the opportunity to.

“I don’t think it really matters where I am at. I am going to pick him,” Harris said. “I am not going to back down from him.”

If Harris gets his wish, it will be the third time the two have tangled in the PBR arena.

Mick E Mouse blasted Harris in Anaheim, California, this past February in just 2.65 seconds. Marlene Henry’s bovine athlete was marked a BFTS season-high 47 points during that trip and reminded everyone how rank he can be.

Harris nearly rode Mick E Mouse in their first meeting last season in Thackerville, Oklahoma, before being tossed off at the 7.47-second mark.

“He has thrown me off twice, and I really don’t feel like he should have ever thrown me off the two times I got on him. I kind of have a little score to settle with him.”

There may be no better moment than this weekend for Harris to take on Mick E Mouse.

The four-time PRCA champion has averaged 86.68 points per ride in his last 10 qualified rides – all of which have placed him in the Top 5 of every BFTS round during that stretch – and he has been on fire since winning the Kansas City, Missouri, BFTS event four weeks ago for his first career win.

The 2014 PBR Rookie of the Year has gone 10-for-16 (62.5 percent) since beginning the season 5-for-19 (26.32 percent), and he has an overall riding percentage of 42.86 percent in his second year on tour.

Still, Mick E Mouse will be no easy foe as the bovine athlete is averaging a career-high 45.31 points per out.

“Shoot, I am not scared of him,” Harris said. “To me, he is just what you want in the short round. He is going to buck hard and you are going to be 90 on him.”

Harris already succeeded once this weekend in a rematch.

He had previously been bucked off by Wesley’s Pet in St. Louis last month in 2.47 seconds, but he made the proper adjustments on Saturday to come through with a qualified ride this time in Albuquerque.

“He just tries to raise you up,” Harris said. “I focused on staying down because I got on him earlier this year and he made pretty quick work of me. I wasn’t going to let that happen again.”

Harris also heads into Sunday No. 1 in the event average in Albuquerque with 173.75 points on two bulls.

With his third round win of the season, Harris now sits 737.5 points back of the world No. 1 ranking.

Robson AragaoRubens Barbosa and 2008 PBR World Champion Guilherme Marchi finished Round 2 in a three-way tie for second place, each receiving 87-point scores for their rides and 50 points toward the world standings.

The points were especially important for Aragao and Barbosa, who were competing as alternates this weekend.

Barbosa rode Rough’em Up Tuck for his first ride since returning from his broken right ankle and the 50 points jumps him to 30th in the world standings after beginning the night in 32nd.

“It does not hurt,” Barbosa said. “It just hurts when I buck off and land on it. I stay in my house for two weeks and stay off it. I need to come back and ride because I live for this.”

Aragao’s season-high ride on Cash Ya Out bumps him from 38th in the world to 33rd heading into Round 3.

“I am very happy because I don’t come here just to fall off all of the bulls all of the time,” Aragao said. “I come here to win and ride pretty good. I am very happy and I want to stay here. Me and Guilherme are trying hard and we go to the gym together. We are making it fun now.”

The 35-year-old has been struggling to put together the kind of success on the BFTS (3-for-10) he has had on the BlueDEF Velocity Tour, where he has gone 14-for-22 (63.64 percent).

Marchi – the No. 11 bull rider in the world – was extremely proud of Aragao’s success.

“I am more happy for (Aragao),” Marchi said. “That guy is on the bubble all the time and he is such a nice guy.”

There were a total of 14 qualified rides in Round 2, and eight riders head into Round 3 at a perfect 2-for-2.

Native American invite Sells brings packed house to life

Ivan Sells couldn’t help but embrace the biggest moment of his bull riding career on Saturday night.

After spending most of Friday trying to act like a consummate professional and keep his composure, Sells let his personality shine in Round 2 Saturday when he rode Barstool Mountain for 84.5 points.

A slight smile crossed his face when he looked behind at the bull just after his ride was over as the Albuquerque crowd (11,747), which was the largest group of people Sells has ever ridden in front of, erupted for the full-blooded Navajo and Native American invite.

“I was too excited,” Sells said. “Oh, it was awesome. He was a handful. He kept coming around and after about three rounds I saw everything good. It was just a good bull. They told me a lot about him. He had a lot of timing and came out good.”

Sells’ ride was good enough to tie him for ninth in the second round with Stormy Wing (84.5 points on Hott Fudge).

The ovation only got louder for Sells while he walked up the arena steps toward the locker room, stopping to pose with fans for photos and respond to autograph requests.

“It is breath taking and my heart started beating more,” Sells said. “I am blown away. I am speechless now.”

Injury updates

Reese Cates, the No. 6 bull rider in the world, is also set to undergo an MRI, likely on Monday, to see if he has a bicep tear in his right arm (riding arm) following a practice pen incident last week.

Cates did not compete in Round 2 and expects to miss a few weeks once he receives results from the MRI.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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