In Austin Powers, one of Dr. Evil’s henchmen is dropped from his chair into a firey pit below at the press of a button, only to have him weakly call out from below. “I’m alive, but very badly burned” Dr. Evil, of course, sent a henchman in to finish him off. We hear a door…a gunshot…and…”OW! you shot me! You shot me in my arm!”
As you may have noticed, I was on vacation last week from the blog. The DetFan1979 clan also went to visit relatives in Interlochen. While we were there, we of course had to visit some surrounding areas with the Little Pink Lions. Unfortunately, I didn’t reapply my sunscreen enough and ended up a big pink lion myself — more like a big scorched lion. Alive, but very badly burned. Just don’t shoot me in the arm.
However, this also got me thinking about a commercial I saw a year or so back. A normal guy is sitting on an exam type bench with workout clothes on, and a football player sits down next ot him with his fingers at a right angle. He goes “hey doc, you got this” The doc comes over and snaps them into place. The player flexes his fingers and goes “thanks” – no change of expression. No big deal. The “normal” guy passes out and falls off the bench. Can’t remember what it was for (bad advertisement huh?)
So what is the point of old movie quotes and silly commercials? Injuries, of course. My sunburn knocked me out of really working out at all for a week. Lost a week to a sprained ankled a couple months ago, and a pulled quad stole 1 more. This doesn’t include the time to work myself back into the shape I was, and taking it along at the right pace so as not to re-injure myself – or injure something else. I tweaked one ankle slightly trying to overdo coming back from the sprain in the other. Finally, once you are "healed" and back, it comes down to trust. Trusting your newly healed body part will hold up when you go all out. The mental block is one of the hardest to overcome – and can cause you either to favor the prior injury spot, or hold back. Favoring can often lead to other injuries becasue you are misusing your body.
Respect your body, and it will respect you. For the most part.
Brandon Pettigrew will be 100% physically healed by camp, as will Kevin Smith (theoretically according to reports, but that is a whole other issue) — but they will only have limited reps, and neither will likely start the season as starters. At best, it will likely be at least halfway through the 2010 season before either is back to where they were before the injury. If not longer. Caution is the better part of valor.
Yet caution is something most, if not all, NFL athletes throw to the wind in ways we wouldn’t ever consider. Minor injuries that would knock us out for a week or more of keeping our feet up don’t even diminish practice time during the season. Taped up, wrapped up, iced up, braced up, under armoured up, padded up, hopped up (pain killer injection) — they take brutal punishment that would have us in the infirmary after a little less than half an hour day in day out hours at a time. I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to walk for a week even if I could make it through one game at CB, or WR — much less RB or Oline… The wear and tear and brutal punishment are what they do, and they train..but the pain is still there. Hopefully fans keep this in mind next time a player is inactive, or goes on IR. Imagine how they feel if it’s bad enough to keep them off the field?
As we get into training camp opening in a couple of weeks, guys will miss practice for tweaked hamstrings, light ankle sprains, bruises, and hopefully nothing more serious than that. Keep in perspective that coaches will be cautionary with key players — so a Calvin Johnson missing reps at camp is likely a less severe injury than a Tim Toone missing reps. One is a commodity to keep healthy — the other is a bubble guy fighting for a chance to make the roster. Different players, different values. Since injury reports aren’t mandatory during the ifseason, you can bet the house that coaches and front offices will NEVER be 100% in the open about any injuries that may or may not occur. The Media/Fans are only allowed to see certain parts of practice, and certain drills, etc. None of us really know what’s going on as far as the complete picture.
Once the season comes around, the priorities switch up — a Calvin Johnsonbeing out means more than a Tim Toone or a Derrick Williams. If those guys are injured, another guy at the bottom of the roster will be active game day — but the big guns will play through. It is an interesting reversal that bubble guys are expected to play through injury the whole time — but especially in camp to earn a roster spot while the key players are kept healthy through camp, but expected to put it all on the line and be out on the field beyond the capabilities of normal human endurance come Sunday’s that count.
All part of a week’s work for them. So fully healthy or alive but very badly burned and shot in the arm Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Louis Delmasand others will be out there giving it their all on Sunday this season for the team and the fans. For record, while I admire gutsy toughness I prefer healthy. It wins more games in the long run.