Robison ready to block out the pain

Brian Robison is a key cog on the defensive line, but a sprained ankle Monday night has the potential to keep him out of action. See what he had to say about the injury, blocking out the pain and the kind of injuries defensive linemen don't want to have.

Defensive end Brian Robison is doing his best to break the budget for athletic tape. After rolling his right ankle, he has practiced on a limited basis to face his favorite team growing up (the Dallas Cowboys) on Sunday. His ailing ankle was taped up to the extent it resembled the kind of tape-club that offensive linemen are allowed when they have a broken bone in their hand.

Robison said the initial pain was intense, but that the team's medical staff is keeping the reigns on him to make sure he doesn't make a bad situation worse.

"It rolled over pretty bad," Robison said. "It's been getting a little better each day, but we haven't really tested it too much yet. We're taking pushing it a little at a time to try to give it more time to heal up before we go full-out again."

He surprised the medical staff when they reached him on the field at the Meadowlands. By the time they got to him, Robison was trying to take off his shoe – a big no-no since players are taped and wear their shoes so tight that it restricts the amount of initial swelling that will come as blood flows into the affected area and creates its own sense of heat pain.

"It might not have been the best thing to do, but, at the time, I just wanted that shoe off," Robison said. "It felt like my foot was on fire. I thought it would help, but all it did was swell up more."

Robison, who is key to the Vikings defensive end rotation, is typically on the field 20-30 plays a game. While he won't be called on to be on the field as often as players like Jared Allen or Ray Edwards, he said he is confident that he will be able to go on Sunday and was indeed listed as probable on the injury report.

He hasn't had any significant injuries as a pro – he's missed just one of 52 career games, but he had a couple of ankle injuries while playing for the University of Texas and didn't miss any major playing time.

"In college I had a couple of similar injuries," Robison said. "It's one of those taking it day-by-day. My history has been that I heal quickly, so I'm hopeful, but there is still a way to go."

Robison said the best part of the injury is that, when it is heavily wrapped and the ankle is much more stabilized as a result, it doesn't hurt as much. The bigger issue has been the next day after the rigors of working out the injured ankle come back to bite him.

"We did some individual stuff (during the first full day of practice Wednesday) and, when I got up (Thursday) morning, it was pretty sore," Robison said. "It's just one of things that I'm going to have to work through the soreness and progress throughout the rest of the week heading into game day. It's still sore, but, hopefully with treatment I will be ready Sunday. I'm just going have to deal with the soreness and work through it."

While the ankle will limit some his athleticism, Robison said every player is injured at some point during the season and that it becomes much more a player's individual toughness that makes the biggest difference. Everybody on the team has rolled an ankle at some time or another. The difference is how effectively they can dismiss the pain in their minds on game day, something easier said than done, but one of the reasons why so few players are capable of playing in the NFL.

"You just have to block out the pain," Robison said. "That's one thing about football players is that you have to be mentally tough as well as physically tough. When you get injuries like this, you just have to be mentally tough and block it out and do what you have to do."

Robison said it's a difficult process because, all the assurances he can give the coaches and trainers, he knows they're watching practice tape and know whether he appears to be 100 percent or is favoring the injured ankle. All the cajoling and convincing he can muster can only go so far.

"I have been lobbying a little bit, because I'm a competitor and I want to play," Robison said. "But ultimately, it's the trainers' decision and the coaches' decision. They're watching the film of practice and the film doesn't lie. I might tell them it's fine, but if they see on tape that I'm not going full speed, they won't put me out there. Hopefully I can do enough to convince them, because I've already convinced myself that I can go."

Robison said that, at his position as a designated pass rusher, there are only three injuries that can be nagging problems. Fortunately for him, he said, he's got the one that is most manageable – both physically and mentally – and remains convinced that, whether the pain persists or not, he will be lining up with the rest of the defense on Sunday.

"Ankles, hamstrings and groin are three things you don't want to have injured," Robison said. "Any of them can hurt bad and take time to heal. Of those three, I guess I would take the ankle."

John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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