- Fantasy Basho
Kyushu Basho Health Report
There are three kinds of sumo injuries: 1. "He should be back before the end of the basho and wants to fight." 2. "He is out for this basho, but will be back just in time for the next one." 3. "We don't know how long he'll be out." That last one is code for "needs surgery."
So if you want some specific information on sumo injuries, you are almost always out of luck. On the other hand, as a basho approaches, wrestlers do "degeiko," which is inter-stable training and usually gets reported to the press. Everyone will say they feel fine and are excited about the basho still, but it's better than what is learned from the Jungyo tours.
With all of that in mind, here is what some of the bigger injury concerns look like a few days before the basho. (Note: it's pretty much all in Japanese, so this relies on machine translation some.)
Both Kakuryu (right leg injury) and Hakuho (right finger injury) left the Aki basho early. On the other hand, they both participated in the Jungyo, did their ceremonial duties in Fukuoka, and are saying all the right things. There is some extra motivation for Kakuryu to do well, as his stablemaster just passed away and he had to change stables. Hakuho is also making ridiculous statements like his cardiovascular age is 25 and that he is disappointed he hasn't won in the Reiwa era yet. (The era began in May.) They are both going to go from the start.
The only currently kadoban ozeki is training after missing the Aki basho with a broken elbow. However, he still has a massive brace on his left arm and is clearly not at full strength. If he wants to stay at Ozeki, he needs 8 wins. That means he will likely mount the dohyo, but is off it when he either gets 8 wins, suffers 8 losses, or re-injures himself.
The once-again new Ozeki suffered a torn pectoral muscle in his playoff bout with Mitakeumi. That kept him out of the jungyo tour and kept him from full training until recently. On the other hand, he is training well now against his stablemates and seems like he's going for Kyushu's full 15 days.
The big Georgian is back at Sekiwake after being unable to defend his Ozeki spot, largely thanks to back and knee problems. While all training reports should be read with a grain of salt, Tochinoshin has been going great guns. More importantly, he has been seen without a knee brace for the first time in a long while.
Further down the banzuke lies the one almost-guaranteed kyujo for Kyushu in Ichinojo. Ichinojo had to leave the Aki basho after landing on his arm and dislocating his right shoulder. That injury made him MIA from anything public a sumo wrestler does. Reports are now that he is not only battling his arm troubles, but long-lingering back issues. Additionally, he put on even more weight, which he is now trying to lose. He will go down to Juryo if he misses this basho, and a trimmer, fitter, and more motivated Ichinojo in the second division would be a terrifying prospect.
The rest of the wrestlers are probably dealing with aches and pains as usual, so the list could grow through training. Freak things can also happen on the basho during the tournament, which will lead to someone not here going kyujo. But right now, these are the biggest concerns.