By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – World leader Jose Vitor Leme did not compete Sunday during the final rounds of the PRB Lucas Oil Invitational, presented by U.S. Border Patrol, after bruising his lower right ribs when he was bucked off by M.A.G.A. in 1.84 seconds on Saturday night in Round 1.
The good news for Leme is that, according to PBR Director of Sports Medicine Rich Blyn, there is not a belief that the best bull rider in the world broke his ribs for the second time this season.
Leme missed two events Unleash The Beast events earlier this year when he broke three of his ribs in Kansas City, Missouri, on Feb. 29 when The Right Stuff bucked him off.
There are no plans for Leme to get X-rays this week back in Texas, and the 23-year-old will just need some time to rest and heal up.
Leme ends the first half of the Unleash The Beast with a 235-point lead on No. 2 Jess Lockwood, who will be out until the middle of September with a torn left hamstring.
There are two weeks until the PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge, presented by U.S. Border Patrol, begins on June 5 at the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa in Las Vegas. No world points will be awarded during this special event series.
Leme will be one of the top riders likely named to one of the 12-team competition that will culminate with a championship weekend in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on July 10-12 in front of a reduced-sized crowd.
The first four weekends of the team challenge in Las Vegas will be closed-to-the-public events held from on June 5-28 using the safety protocols PBR debuted during three previous event weekends in April and May in Guthrie, Oklahoma, including a scaled-down crew, medical testing, functional separation and social distancing.
Championship weekend in South Dakota will be held with fans in attendance. To help ensure a safe environment for fans purchasing tickets, event partners Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, the City of Sioux Falls, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and PBR will institute a new series of safety protocols, including mobile ticketing, staggered POD seating, re-routed in-arena traffic flow, social distancing guidelines, enhanced disinfecting and cashless concessions options.
ADDITIONAL INJURY UPDATES
Cannon Cravens missed Round 2 after partially tearing his patellar tendon and needing 10 staples to close a laceration on his right knee following his 6.66-second buckoff against Bogey Saturday night.
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, leading Rookie of the Year contender Cole Melancon did not compete Sunday after sustaining a bruised right thigh, knee and calf when he was pinned in the chute in Round 1.
Fellow rookie Amadeu Campos sprained his right MCL Sunday when Honey Man bucked him off in 2.71 seconds during Round 2.
2019 Rookie of the Year Dalton Kasel was ruled out for Round 2 because of a right hip pointer, per Freeman.
Meanwhile, Mason Taylor is expected to meet with Freeman this week in Texas to get two of his injuries evaluated.
Taylor, who won Round 1 with an 88.75-point ride Saturday aboard Hell On The Red, missed the championship round Sunday because of a sprained wrist he sustained when he caught his hand in his bull rope during his 5.33-second Round 2 buckoff against God’s Country. Taylor was already competing with a left hip injury as well.
Marcus Mast returned to competition in Round 2 after passing the PBR’s concussion protocol. Safety Meeting would buck him off in 7.54 seconds.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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