The high school wrestling coach stood in the quiet practice area on the afternoon of Jan. 7.

"You want to talk injuries? We only have 25 minutes before practice starts," Morris Area / Hancock / Chokio-Alberta coach Kyle Rose said in response to questions about his team's injury-prone season.

He was only partly joking.

At the start of the season, it seemed as if there was a new injury every week.

"This has got to be the most injury-prone team I have ever coached. Every week it is a new kid with a new injury," Rose said in an email response just before the Benson tournament in December. "During the regular season, you sit and heal. In the postseason, you wrestle through it. I feel (the injury bug) is almost contagious."

Since the start of the season, several wrestlers have sat out of practice for various reasons, ranging from concussions to broken hands, Rose said on Jan. 7.

"Bootsy (Jacob Boots) sat out, Maddix (Erickson) has sat out, Dillon Nelson has sat out, Josh Rohloff has sat out, Ben Travis has sat out...," Rose said, running down the roster list of kids that have sat out of practice. "They sit out for a couple practices. They still wrestle (matches), but how good are you going to do if you're sitting out two practices or two to three full days where now you're out of shape and you're not wrestling smooth."

The list of wrestlers that have sat out of at least one practice continues to grow this season, Rose said.

"I wish I didn't have these chairs here," Rose said as he points to a row of five chairs. "That's what they're here for."

While many wrestlers sit out of practice because they are hurt or sore, only a handful have missed a wrestling event because of injury.

"There is a difference between injured and hurt," Rose explained. "You can wrestle if you're hurt. You can't wrestle if you're injured. Some of these kids don't know the difference, and some know it too well and wrestle anyways, which isn't good either."

"Actual injuries to keep them out of an event, probably only a couple (wrestlers)," Rose added. "We have the depth to cover everything we need except the top three weights with Matt McNeill being out."

McNeill, who sat out all of last season because of a knee injury sustained during the 2017 football season, broke a bone in his hand at the Benson Invite Dec. 29. He will likely be on the injured reserve list until the last invite of the regular season in early February, Rose said.

The Tigers have 10 duals left this season. They will need to forfeit those top three weights in all of them, Rose said. Two of those three weights are not filled because of medical issues.

"We never had a 220-pounder this season, so we're just missing our 195 in Matt McNeill and our heavyweight Grizz (Kylen Running Hawk)," Rose said.

Despite giving every opponent an 18-0 advantage to start a match, Rose thinks the Tigers will finish the year strong.

"Even with giving up those top three weights, I think we should be able to win at least half of those duals," Rose said.

The Tigers are currently 3-2 in the dual season. If the Tigers win half of their remaining duals, they will end the dual season over .500 for the first time since the 2012-2013 season when they were 7-6.

Upon this story publishing, the Tigers went 1-1 at the ACGC triangular Friday, Jan. 11, in Grove City. Read about who wrestled well here.