By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – Ezekiel Mitchell wanted to try and grit his way through a right groin injury, but his efforts went for naught.
Mitchell announced on Instagram he will be out for the next four to six weeks as he tries to heal up in time for the summer PBR run.
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Mitchell is ranked 29th in the world standings and is 6-for-21 (28.57%) this season on the Unleash The Beast. 2021 has not gone the way Mitchell would have liked inside the arena outside of a career-best, 93-point ride on two-time YETI World Champion Smooth Operator in Arcadia, Florida.
The 24-year-old said he first sustained the injury attempting to ride Harold’s Genuine Risk at the PBR Caterpillar Classic in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 21. Mitchell tried to ride through the injury in Louisville, Kentucky, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but he went a combined 0-for-3.
If Mitchell were to come back in four weeks, that would possibly put him back in time for the PBR Wrangler Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, in Billings, Montana, on May 14-16.
Mitchell is not going to rush back too soon, though. He understands he needs to let his injury heal so that he can return to the top of the world standings where he believes he belongs and qualify for his third consecutive PBR World Finals.
“It’s getting better every day,” Mitchell told PBR.com. “I am ready to heal up and get back. I’ve got a lot of ground to make up, but I’m blessed.”
ADDITIONAL INJURY NEWS AHEAD OF THE PBR EXPRESS RANCHES INVITATIONAL (OKLAHOMA CITY)
World No. 17 Taylor Toves is set to miss a second consecutive event because of a hip injury, while No. No. 22 Mason Taylor (broken collarbone), No. 24 Dalton Kasel (right elbow surgery), No. 28 Lucas Divino (hip surgery) and No. 30 Jesse Petri (liver laceration, adrenal hematoma, bruised right lung) are also expected to remain out of competition.
No. 36 Luciano de Castro is not competing in Oklahoma City following two broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung in Sioux Falls. No. 54 Chase Outlaw (right thigh) and No. 56 Matt Triplett (right groin) are not competing in Oklahoma City as they continue to rehab their injuries at the PBR Sport Performance Center.
2016 World Champion Cooper Davis is tentatively in the draw, but he is still questionable for OKC because of a concussion he sustained last weekend. Davis is 69 points behind world leader Kaique Pacheco.
On the good news front, No. 18 Kyler Oliver is returning to competition from a one-week hiatus because of a right leg injury, and No. 31 Brennon Eldred is back for the first time since Feb. 26 when he broke multiple ribs and partially collapsed a lung attempting to ride Cherry Bomb in Fort Worth, Texas.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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