NEW YORK – Jose Vitor Leme lay on the sports medicine room training table on Sunday afternoon and winced in pain as the PBR Sports Medicine team prepared to place a bag of ice on his injured calf.
Leme’s attempts to fight through the injury at the Monster Energy Buck Off at The Garden did not go as planned in Round 3 as he was bucked off by Hedoo in a quick 2.07 seconds.
The 22-year-old had previously injured his calf on Saturday night when he was stepped on by Living Large in Round 2 after being bucked off in 3.43 seconds.
“That bull hipped himself in the chute and I felt he changed direction and got me off,” Leme said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. “He stepped on my calf muscle and I was pretty hurt.”
Leme was on crutches before the start of the event Sunday, and he left Madison Square Garden later in the evening once again on crutches.
However, Leme is confident he will be ready to ride next weekend at the Chicago Invitational.
“Yes,” Leme said. “I will be OK.”
Leme explained prior to aggravating his injury on Sunday that part of his decision to attempt to ride Hedoo was the fact that he missed three events in 2018 because of injuries – one because of a lower back/groin injury and two because of a torn ACL.
Leme fell short of a World Championship by 422.5 points.
“Everything is really important, and today I had a bull I could be a lot of points and maybe win the round on,” Leme said.
Leme was unable to reach 8 seconds on Sunday, but he leaves New York as the No. 3 bull rider in the world standings.
The third-year pro is 632.5 points behind world leader Jess Lockwood.
Leme won the first 15/15 Bucking Battle Friday night with 91.25 points on Cochise, who responded on Sunday by bucking off Chase Outlaw (2.52 seconds) for a 44.75-point bull score in the championship round. He went 1-for-3 in New York, riding Lab Rat in Round 1 for 83.75 points.
Leme will return to Texas this week and prepare to get ready for the second event of the 2019 Unleash The Beast.
“There is not much I can do because it is the muscle,” Leme said. “I will ice, stretch and rehab it. It is going to hurt.”
Lockwood went on to win the season-opener despite his rough dismount following his 85-point ride in Round 3 on Dream Catcher. The 2017 World Champion cleared by the PBR sports medicine team before returning to win the event with a career-high 91.75-point ride on Prayer Warrior.
Five additional riders were competing with injuries – Alisson de Souza (right buttock abrasion and right foot contusion), Koal Livingston (sprained right thumb), Alex Marcilio (strained left hip adductor muscle), Marco Eguchi (sore right elbow) and Matt Triplett (sore right wrist on his riding hand).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2019 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.