Many NFL players are all too familiar with the training staff. Over the course of a season, bumps, bruises and more significant injuries take a toll on many players. Somehow, despite his high-energy level of play at a position more prone to injury than many others, Jared Allen has seemingly had a horseshoe as his tail pad.
While injuries are intrinsic to the game, Allen has been able to avoid many of those pitfalls of being an NFL player, some of whom see their careers shortened or finished due to injury. That isn't to say that Allen is immune from injury. He's not, but this season he theorized that he has spent more time in the training room than he has the entirety of his career prior to the 2012 season.
Injuries are part of the game and, although he has been spared significant injury, Allen is feeling it more and more as the 2012 season rolls on.
"You play through things every year," Allen said. "For me, I've haven't had this abundance – I've never had this much on me in one year – but we've got a good training staff. Our coaching staff does a good job of, when I need to rest, they rest me. Come Sunday, I'm always 100 percent on Sunday no matter what the issue is."
The Vikings rested Allen again Thursday for the second straight day after he suffered back spasm Sunday and a magnetic resonance imaging test afterwards came back negative.
The laundry list of injuries Allen has played through is significant and has afflicted several different parts of his body. Although he has been on the team's injury report for most of the season, Allen has gone through a lot more that has required him to work with the training staff than the shoulder problems.
"My groin has been hurt twice this year, my back locked up, I had my neck lock up," Allen said. "I've been in the training room for everything but my shoulder. I think that has been the only (injury) that has been a constant. … You always deal with something."
While he has been able to dodge the serious injury bullet, Allen knows he is one of the fortunate few that has avoided being sidelined and realizes that at some point his number might come up too."
"I've just been blessed not to be in the training room throughout my career," Allen said. "I think everybody will have one or two years in their career (with injuries). Some guys, they spend their whole career in the training room. I've been blessed not to have that. So, God willing, I've been able to play through everything and go out there and try to help my team win football games."
After the announcement Wednesday that Percy Harvin's 2012 season is over, Allen said it's really nothing new. The Vikings have seen significant injuries to critical players throughout the last three seasons, adding that one man's injury is another man's opportunity.
"It's something you deal with," Allen said. "In the last few years, we've lost good, key players due to injury. We lost Antoine (Winfield) a couple years in a row. We lost Hutch (Steve Hutchinson) a couple of years. Brett (Favre) goes down. Now Percy is down. We lost Adrian (Peterson) last year at the end of the year. It's football. People get hurt. It's a violent, physical game. No matter the rules changes they have to try to keep it from happening, it's going to happen. You're next guy has to step up."
When the Vikings take the field Sunday, Allen will be out there, as he has every game of his career. The only games he has missed since the first games of his rookie season was when he was suspended by the NFL for two games at the start of the 2007 season with Kansas City. He'll be out there playing through the aches and pains because, as he sees it, that's just the way things go in the NFL.
"You go out there and you play," Allen said. "You try not to let it slow you down and you play through stuff. But at this time of the year everybody is playing through something. I think the only day you're fresh is the first day of training camp. You deal with it."
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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