NEW YORK ― Things rarely go as planned.
Last week, I spent a couple of days shadowing L.J. Jenkins for what I expected would be a story about how his Top-5 finish in the world standings led to him being chosen to represent the PBR on a week-long publicity blitz in the media capital of the world.
Unlike 2012, when he surprised nearly everyone by reasserting himself as a legitimate contender, there will be no surprising anyone in 2013.
And while I intended to write about various interviews and appearances, I wound up writing about how different the individual expectations can be from one year to the next. A year ago, Jenkins wasn't in the early-season discussion, whereas this year, he was right in the middle of it.
Of course, things rarely go as planned.
Just ask Jenkins, who went from talking about the expectation of contending for a world title to being on the injured listed for at least the next three Built Ford Tough Series events in a matter of 14 seconds.
Yeah, that's right. The topic of conversation has changed yet again-and this time, it's not for the better.
Jenkins dislocated his right shoulder in Round 2 when landed on it after bucking off Bikini ― a bull he once owned ― less than a second shy of the whistle.
Dr. Tandy Freeman reduced the shoulder in the training room that night and Jenkins was reexamined Thursday afternoon in Oklahoma.
"If they would make bull riding 7 seconds, I would have won (a world title)."
He was given two options: he could undergo a surgical procedure, which would give his shoulder a 90-percent chance of not coming back out of place. However, surgery would require a six-month recovery and rehab process. The other option was to rehab the injury and take part in physical therapy for the next five weeks ― with no guarantee that the shoulder won't come out of place again.
Jenkins is a bull rider.
As a matter of fact, he's a Top-5 rider with high expectations, so naturally, he chose the latter of the two ― which is not to say he took the path of least resistance.
He made the decision that will afford him an opportunity to get back to competition in Sacramento, Calif.
The 25-year-old, who is already in his eighth year, will miss this week's event in Chicago, along with next week's event in Winston-Salem, N.C., and the following event in Oklahoma City, which is only a mere 138 miles due west from Jenkins' ranch in nearby Porum.
Instead, Jenkins will haul some young bulls to the Oklahoma City event.
It's not exactly the start to the 2013 season that he had envisioned.
Injuries are part of the sport. That's precisely why it's widely regarded as the most dangerous 8 seconds in all of sports, but more importantly, Jenkins had not one, but two outs that were both timed at 7 seconds.
"If they would make bull riding 7 seconds, I would have won (a world title)," he joked.
Last season, he had eight attempts of at least 7 seconds where he fell short of a qualified ride, and another 10 that were between 6 and 7 seconds.
Coming into last week's season-opening event in New York, Jenkins talked about two important keys to finally winning his first world title. One was to stay healthy ― he suffered a series of injuries in recent years ― and the other was to convert those 7-second rides into qualified rides.
Unfortunately, he's at home trying to work on the range of motion with his right shoulder while thinking about two more 7-second rides-the second of which was a costly one.
It's just another example of how things don't always go as planned when competing in the PBR.
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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