Parrish's elbow is anything but healthy. It still was swollen and discolored when he took off a wrap and displayed it to SFI in the Niners' locker room Monday, eight days after he dislocated the elbow and also suffered ligament damage in it during a Dec. 1 win over Seattle.
Parrish displayed his toughness against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday by shrugging off the injury to lead a hurting defense to one of its better efforts of the season. Parrish - playing with a bulky, cumbersome brace on his right arm, had two interceptions and also knocked down two passes in San Francisco's 31-27 victory.
Parrish will have to play through the pain the rest of the season as the ligament damage heals. But he won't have to play with that same oversized brace.
"Actually, I'm getting another brace made that will be smaller than the little midget I dragged around last week," Parrish said. "It will help. But I'm not a great judger of pain. I mean, it's there, but I have other things on my mind. I can put pain on the back burner."
Parrish has proven that several times over to the Niners since he arrived with the team in April after signing a four-year, $12.025 free-agent contract. He also had surgery to have a testicle removed after a Magnetic Resonance Imaging exam revealed a benign testicular tumor shortly after he joined the team.
"We voted as a team for the most courageous player who has to overcome certain obstacles and injuries and setbacks and that sort of thing," Niners coach Steve Mariucci said. "Tony's had a couple of surgeries that you're well aware of, and now most recently his elbow. He's been so good for us in the locker room and on the field."
Parrish says he's most concerned right now about what he can do for the 49ers on the field, but he did admit he was honored that his teammates would bestow such an award upon him in his first season with the team.
"When the people around you elect you to receive an award such as that, and all that it entails, it means a lot," Parrish said. "It's one of those things where respect from your peers – especially an award that comes from the vote of so many from the organization - means more than a lot of the other accolades you can receive."