PUEBLO, Colo. – 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis woke up on Thursday morning with every intention of getting on some practice bulls. Upon further review, though, Davis understood there was no point of practicing as he glanced down at the swelling around a knuckle on his riding hand.
Davis’ right hand still doesn’t feel right after he sprained his right ring finger in Chicago during his 83.5-point ride on Uncle Tink.
Therefore, Davis has decided to opt of the Caterpillar Classic this weekend in Kansas City, Missouri, and go visit a hand specialist to get further details on his injury.
“It just don’t feel any different since I left Anaheim,” Davis said. “I can’t imagine it would be any better in the practice pen. I am thinking of taking it a week at a time, but more than likely it won’t be until Arlington that I come back.”
The WinStar World Casino & Resort Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki, is slated for Feb. 24 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Davis believes he may have a torn ligament, or possibly a broken finger, but the only way to find out for sure is to visit with a specialist. Dr. Tandy Freeman is going to recommend one to Davis.
The 23-year-old was still able to ride Catfish John for 91.25 points in Chicago for the event victory last month, but once the adrenaline wore off, the injury did not
Davis has since gone 1-for-8 in large part because of the lingering injury.
“It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but when you go to slide up on your rope and have to push off your hand to get where you need to be, you can’t do that without putting a whole bunch of pressure on your riding hand,” Davis explained. “Those fingers play a bigger role in that than you would think until you sit down and try it out.”
Davis – the No. 4 ranked rider in the world standings – is one of four Top 15 riders out because of injuries.
No. 5 Ryan Dirteater is out three to six weeks because of four fractured ribs, No. 6 Gage Gay is out until the summer because of reconstructive right knee surgery and No. 15 Jess Lockwood is week-to-week because of two MCL injuries.
Davis had tried to brush off his hand injury at first, but he has been noticeably favoring his riding hand as he left the arena following each of his buckoffs in recent weeks.
He would then head immediately to the PBR Sports Medicine room for treatment.
“Whenever I came off the side of Uncle Tink and my hand hung in the rope for just a minute and he jerked me down. It started then, but it was like the more bulls I got on the more it became a problem,” Davis added. “At first we tried to tape it and go on with it, and we just kept trying new things. It seemed like every time we I would get on it would irritate it more.”
Two of his buckoffs came at just around the 7-second mark in Sacramento, California, which only added to his frustration.
Davis said that bulls turning into his hand aren’t as much as a problem, but any of the ones that turned away to the left have been giving him hell.
“I can’t get over that breaking point with my hands because I put so much pressure on my hand,” he said. “If I was going to the right I would be fine. Unfortunately, you can’t be a one-sided guy in this deal.”
Davis plans on seeing the specialist next week to get some clearer answers on his injury. He also is hopeful three weeks off before Iron Cowboy could go a long way toward helping his riding hand improve enough to make a run at winning the second PBR Major of 2018.
Regardless, he knows it isn’t time to panic.
“There is plenty of season left and I have way more of a head start than I have my previous years,” he concluded.
AGUIAR GETS THE CALL
Davis will be replaced by Ricky Aguiar in the Kansas City draw.
Aguiar, who got introduced to the sport by his father, Richard, who was a team roper, is set to make his premier series debut against All Business (1-0, PBR UTB) in Round 1.
The 29-year-old from Stephenville, Texas, has competed in 81 events at all levels of PBR competition, going 19-for-115 (16.5 percent) with one victory (2017 Allen, Texas, Velocity Tour event).
Aguiar, though, has eight of those 19 rides this year. He is 8-for-18 (42.11 percent) with 5 Top-10 finishes on the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour.
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