Will players play through the pain barrier in Super Bowl 50?

Posted Jan 28, 2016

For most of us, breaking an arm might mean taking months away from most kinds of physical activity. Carolina cornerback Thomas Davis believes he can shake off such an injury in less than 14 days in order to play in a Super Bowl. He said as much on Monday, insisting in the wake of minor surgery that: “if it comes down to a pain tolerance and playing through it, I will be there. I guarantee to you.”

That claim was supported on Wednesday by Ron Rivera. Whilst acknowledging his own lack of medical expertise, the Panthers head coach quipped that there was no chance you would catch him “doubting Thomas”. “There’s something about his conviction and the way he looks at things,” said Rivera. “I know Thomas and if he says he’s going to do it, I believe he will.”

Courage is one thing, of course, and medical reality another. Rivera did acknowledge that Davis was not likely to train this week, but suggested that he was hopeful the player might be ready to participate in practice from the middle of the next in Santa Clara.

And if that still might sound optimistic to most of us, it was a prognosis supported by ESPN’s injury analyst Stephania Bell. “Actually, it's not just possible [Davis will] play,” she wrote. “It's probable.

“Davis was somewhat fortunate -- if one can call it that -- in that he broke just one bone in his forearm (the ulna), not both, making it a less complex injury. The break was on the main shaft of the bone, where it did not involve the elbow or wrist joints. The location of the fracture does not require that the wrist or elbow be immobilized in a cast.

“Davis underwent surgery Monday to insert a metal plate to stabilize the fracture. While the bone itself will require at least six weeks to heal, with some extra external protection on his forearm, Davis should be able to take the field. Panthers head athletic trainer and physical therapist Ryan Vermillion constructed a carbon graphite shell for former Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith's forearm when he returned to action after a similar injury. He will do so again for Davis, who has already initiated his post-operative rehabilitation …

“Will he have discomfort? Probably. Will he have full strength in his arm? Probably not. Might he suffer another injury? He might. But this is not a player who should be underestimated when it comes to toughness. After all, he went through three consecutive ACL rehabilitation efforts before returning in 2012 and notching more than 100 tackles. And, oh, by the way, he has had at least 100 tackles in each of the three years since.

Three more things you might have missed

- Is a Broncos fan really selling his three bedroom house in return for a pair of Super Bowl tickets?

- Could there soon be a second Gronkowski in New England?

- Tom Brady wrote a handwritten note to the Patriots’ fans, thanking them for their support in 2015.

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