PUEBLO, Colo. – Some of the more astute PBR fans may have noticed something was a little different with Marco Eguchi last weekend in New York compared to when they last saw him at the 2018 PBR World Finals.
Eguchi made his 2019 season debut at the Monster Energy Buck Off at The Garden wearing a shiny elbow brace on his riding arm. The 29-year-old also had the PBR sports medicine team wrap the brace additionally for added support.
The 2018 PBR World Finals event winner revealed that he aggravated his chronically injured right elbow last month attempting some practice bulls in Brazil.
Eguchi had competed at the PBR Brazil event in Goiania with no issues, using a 90.75-point ride for a fourth-place finish, but something did not feel right when he attempted a few bulls in the practice pen in preparation for his return to the United States.
“I was practicing in Brazil two weeks before here and I rode a bull that forced me (to put strain on it) and I felt something a little bit,” Eguchi said. “That is why I am using the brace again, so it does not get worse.
“It is not that bad. It is a little sore right now.”
Eguchi went 2-for-3 in New York, but failed to pick up any world points. He rode Shockin & Rockin for 72.25 points in Round 1 and turned down his re-ride option. He then converted on Down Draft for 83.5 points in Round 2.
“Not really,” Eguchi said if he feels any pain when he rides.
He previously sustained an elbow injury in 2014.
“I think I tore a muscle then, but I don’t know,” Eguchi said. “I never did anything to see. I only did an X-ray then to make sure it was not broke.”
Eguchi was planning on getting his elbow looked at this week in Texas, but as of Wednesday he was not planning on taking any time off, and he will continue to ride with an elbow brace during this weekend’s Chicago Invitational.
The six-time PBR World finalist has drawn Bronco’s Bad Dog (4-1, UTB) for Round 1. Fans can watch Round 1 on RidePass (7:45 p.m. ET) and CBS Sports Network (10 p.m. ET).
In other injury news, No. 3 Jose Vitor Leme is competing in Chicago despite injuring his right calf in New York.
Leme is 632.5 points behind world leader Jess Lockwood and will square off against Blue Crush (1-2, UTB).
Lockwood, meanwhile, has a 572.5-point lead on No. 2 Claudio Montanha Jr. and has drawn Freak of Nature (6-1, UTB).
Montanha faces Bronco’s Pet (0-0, UTB) in Round 1.
Fabiano Vieira (dislocated right shoulder) is still debating if he was going to try and compete Friday night at the WCRA Windy City Round-Up in Chicago and this weekend. However, he may have to pull out of the Chicago Invitational if his injury is too painful on Friday night.
The 36-year-old would be replaced in the Unleash The Beast draw by Cody Heffernan. If Heffernan can not make it in time to Chicago from Australia, then Paulo Lima would be the next man up.
There are six riders competing as alternates or via an exemption – Cannon Cravens, Rubens Barbosa, Lonnie West, Emilio Resende, Lucas Divino and Alvaro Aguilar Alvarez (Hispanic invite).
They are replacing Kaique Pacheco (left knee), Dener Barbosa (reconstructive shoulder surgery), Guilherme Marchi (retirement), Valdiron de Oliveira (retirement) and Lachlan Richardson (ankle).
There are eight rematches in Round 1
Alex Marcilio vs. Watch Me Go
Cody Nance vs. Bottom’s Up
Colten Jesse vs. Tractor Tippin
Fabiano Vieira vs. Get Shorty
J.B. Mauney vs. Ram It*
Joao Ricardo Vieira vs. Catfish John
Luciano de Castro vs. Time Bomb*
Ryan Dirteater vs. Moleek
*Rider successfully rode the bull
Mauney rode Ram It for 88 points at the Charlotte Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, in 2016, and Castro rode Time Bomb at the St. Louis Invitational in 2017.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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