Last night's disappointing 1-1 draw with Chivas USA started off on a controversial note when the New England Revolution's lineups were announced, as several inconsistencies with the eleven and the week's injury report immediately presented themselves. Juan Agudelo, who had been absent from Friday's report, was revealed to be out with a knee injury, and Clyde Simms, who had been "out" on the report, was starting.
This lead to widespread Twitter speculation about the usefulness and status of the team's official injury reports. I'll admit, I was among the miffed. From my perspective, if the injury report was a useless exercise in deception, it was diminishing my own ability to a decent job and report on the team to the best of my ability.
Turns out it's far less sinister than we were all thinking.
The mechanics of injury reports changed with the last CBA, from what I've been able to gather. They are now no longer required by MLS on standard days, and the Revolution make their reports on Tuesdays, despite the fact that they aren't released until Thursday or Friday with the game notes. Therefore, Agudelo's injury would never have shown up on the report anyway.
Furthermore, the fact that the reports are compiled on Tuesday means that, in many ways, the designations given to the players are suspect at best. A player listed as "out" on Tuesday could theoretically recover in time to play on a Saturday or a Sunday, creating a probably-unintentional ambiguity in the report. It certainly means that some guesswork will likely be involved with every injury report, as the severity of the injury and the time at which it was suffered will suddenly make a big difference in whether or not a player can be predicted to suit up on match day.
The final little wrinkle in this story involves this week's injury report from the Revs. According to a team representative, this week's report was a clerical error. The most accurate available report would have been the one from Tuesday, which was released with the notes for the U.S. Open Cup match midweek. The report that came out on Friday was actually the report from before the Vancouver match two weeks ago.
This was due to constant travel this past week and simple human error. These things happen - especially when your staff is burning the midnight oil for a midweek trip to D.C. and then an immediate turnaround to get to Los Angeles - and does not represent any level of indifference or attempted deception/gamesmanship on the part of the organization.
So now we know what was going on. This still leaves us with the very real prospect of the Revs dealing with the absence of Juan Agudelo for an undisclosed amount of time, which, after Saturday night's debacle, looks to be far more serious a situation than perhaps anyone would have thought.