Craig Remsburg column: Detroit pros need amulet

Maybe it’s the water. Or the air. Or perhaps Detroit’s pro teams are under some sort of dark cloud when it comes to staying healthy.

It’s almost as if Joe Btfspik, a character in the comic strip “Li’l Abner” by late cartoonist AL Capp, is alive and well in the Motor City.

Joe is the world’s worst jinx, bringing misfortune to everyone around him. He’s perpetually hounded by a small, dark rain cloud over his head.

How else do you explain the injuries suffered by pro athletes in Detroit the last couple of months?

The latest was Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey, who underwent surgery Friday to repair a broken bone in his right thumb after catching it in a car door.

He’ll be sidelined at least two weeks and probably more.

Stuckey’s injury rivals the one suffered by Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson. He broke his forearm in an automobile accident when he tried to stop a pizza box from falling from his car seat to the floor.

He’ll be out 3-5 weeks.

Teammate and wide receiver Louis Delmas, who never seems to stay healthy, has a knee injury; tight end Tony Sheffler is out with a concussion; and Calvin “Megatron” Johnson – the best receiver in the NFL – sat out last Sunday’s game against the Packers with a knee problem and is questionable vs. the Browns today.

All are key players the Lions can’t lose for any length of time. Football is a physical, contact sport, but still …

The Detroit Red Wings haven’t escaped the injury bug, either.

Speedy forward Darren Helm, who sat out most of last year with various ailments, has back and groin problems that won’t let him play yet this season. Both he and veteran forward Patrick Eaves (leg) are on inured reserve.

The two of them provide checking skill and top-notch penalty killing.

The Detroit Tigers haven’t been injury-free, as well. Catcher Alex Avila spent some time on the sidelines with a concussion and slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias missed a week due to a bruised left hand.

Relief pitchers Phil Coke (flexor forearm tendintis) and Bruce Rondon (elbow inflammation) have been sidelined for a considerable amount of time.

But perhaps the Motor City’s No. 1 injury this season has involved third baseman Miguel Cabrera. Baseball’s best hitter has been hampered by groin and abdominal issues for about six weeks that have helped limit him to two home runs since Sept. 1.

Miggy’s playing, but he’s also hurting and not 100 percent. His effectiveness the rest of the playoffs will be tested.

Maybe Detroit pro athletes need to wear some kind of special amulet that will keep them free from harm and injury the rest of their collective seasons.

Maybe that would keep Joe Btfspik away.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is