August 28, 2011

Vintage Powell Performance Ends With Knee Injury

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Into the final seconds of Sunday's Major League Lacrosse championship game, Casey Powell gave an effort that left no doubt he wanted to win a title after a two-plus year hiatus from the league. But after a four-goal effort that carried the Hamilton Nationals offense in a 10-9 defeat, there is a chance Sunday's game could be Powell's last as a pro after he suffered a right knee injury.

As Boston's Paul Rabil kept possession to kill the final seconds off the clock, he drew a double team of Brodie Merrill and Kyle Rubisch in the midfield. Rabil split it, and he and Powell collided when Powell approached to defend. Rabil flew through the air, spinning clockwise. Powell didn't immediately get up and clutched his right knee. The 35-year-old spent a few minutes on the turf being tended to by a trainer as Boston players, coaches and personnel began their championship celebration at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

After exiting the locker room post-game, Powell said he would have the knee checked by doctors this week, but that the injury could be a torn ACL. While players from both sides took places in the post-game handshake line, Powell gingerly limped off the field to the locker room accompanied by a trainer.

Casey Powell said he may have torn his right ACL in this collision with Boston's Paul Rabil in the final seconds of Sunday's MLL title game. Powell had four goals in a losing effort against the Cannons. He plans to have the knee looked at by doctors this week.

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

"I saw Paul split the double and I stepped up to help," Powell said. "I think he tried to swim dodge me, and his knee hit the outside of my thigh so hard that my knee kind of buckled. I have to go get it checked out."

If Powell did injure his ACL or sustain another serious knee injury, his status with the National Lacrosse League's Boston Blazers would be in doubt, as well as his MLL status. This was Powell's first MLL season since 2008, when he was part of the Rochester Rattlers championship team.

He tried to lead this group to another title with a vintage performance. Powell scored four of Hamilton's nine goals. His first, a low bounce shot that squirted past Boston goalie Jordan Burke at goal line extended made it 3-3 early in the second quarter. Powell sprinted back to the sideline and yelled, "Let's go now! Everybody step up!"

His second goal pulled Hamilton within 6-4 early in the second half, and it may have been the most impressive. He dodged Cannons defensive midfielder Matt Smalley twice to no avail, then brought possession back out and tried a third time, getting around Smalley's right side and to the crease to score.

After Boston went up 8-4 on a Smalley short-handed goal, Powell scored two of the Nationals' three goals during a three-goal run that cut the Boston lead to 8-7 just over a minute into the fourth quarter.

The Nationals again trailed by one in the final 30 seconds. Chris Eck won the faceoff after Hamilton attackman Cody Jamieson scored to cut the lead to 10-9 with 31.7 seconds left, and Boston called timeout. Rabil started with the ball in the midfield at the restart, which began the series of events leading to the collision with Powell.

"I knew they were going to try to flush me. I got through it, and then I don't know what happened. I got tackled," Rabil said. When told Powell limped off the field after the game, Rabil replied, "Is he alright?"

In four total games with the Nationals this season, including the two playoff games this weekend, Powell had 13 points on seven goals and six assists. He was acquired by Hamilton at the trade deadline from the Rochester Rattlers for a draft pick. Powell had not played for the Rattlers and was put on the team's "did not report" list a few days before the trade deadline, but he decided to come back after a phone call from one of his idols, Gary Gait, the Nationals' offensive coordinator.

"I came back to have a shot at winning it," Powell said. "It was great that the guys welcomed me to the team with open arms. We had a great shot to win it, but we had too many mistakes today. After the hurricane yesterday, it was a great day to play lacrosse. It's always good to be out playing."


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