At the end of seasons, NFL fans find out just how injured players were during the course of the season. Whether they show up on injury reports or not, the extent of injuries is often left unspoken until the word gets out at the end of season which players were worse off.
Brian Robison finished the season wearing a shoulder harness contraption that made him look like a Transformer. Fortunately for Robison, he won't be going under the knife in the offseason … at least not yet. Considering that the injury never had a chance to heal, Robison is confident that he won't need surgery, but the shoulder will likely get a second look in a month or so.
"Rest, that's the main thing," Robison said of his prognosis. "As it stands right now, they don't think it will need surgery. I've got to rest and let the swelling and inflammation tone down. I'm sure when that happens we'll take another look at it to make sure it's fine. We think everything is going to be alright."
The injury clearly inhibited Robison over the last two games after he suffered the injury against Houston in Week 16. Following the Vikings' playoff loss to Green Bay last Saturday, Robison appeared in agony as teammates helped remove his pads. But he said of all the pain he has endured, that act is one of the harshest tests of his pain tolerance.
"One of the toughest deals is actually taking off the pads after the game," Robison said. "You've got to put your arm all the way above your head. Your pads are pulling at your arm while you're trying to pull the other side of the arm. It almost feels like it's coming out of socket. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would put it at about a 7½. It's pretty painful."
Considering the level of obvious pain Robison was going through after the Packers game, the inevitable follow up of, "What's a 10? Amputation?" was asked. Robison didn't drop his Texas tough-guy persona and would have made Chuck Norris proud.
"I have a pretty high pain tolerance," Robison said. "One of the hits during the (Green Bay) game was pretty painful. It was up to about an 8½ or 9. It's just one of those deals, that's the day and age we live in. Guys try to fight through injuries. Sometimes it's a good thing. Sometimes it's a bad thing."
Showing the toughness that helped earn NFL players their reputations, Robison said that, with an additional week of healing time, even if he wasn't close to 100 percent, if the coaching staff didn't shut him down, he expected he would have been playing as the Vikings traveled to Atlanta.
"If we had another game this week, I think I definitely would have suited up and been ready to play," Robison said. "It's one of those deals that is really tough. You saw it on Saturday. I got out there and tried to play as much as I could, but it got to a point where it wasn't holding up. I had no strength there. I almost felt like I was doing more harm to the team than good."
The level of his participation, however, would be up to debate. Robison started last Saturday's game, but he felt that, after the game got underway, he was being more of a detriment than a benefit to the team. When healthy, he usually plays about 90 percent of the defensive snaps. On Saturday, he played 43 percent.
"It's a tough thing to deal with," Robison said. "It's a thin line between being a man and standing up and saying, ‘Hey, it's not going as well as expected' and tapping out. Me and B-Daley (defensive line coach Brendan Daly) decided it was time to call it. If something drastic had happened, I would have went back in, but, at the time, I felt I was doing more harm than good."
Robison expects to heal fully from his injury, but his injury may result in him having to give up one of his favorite workout hobbies – throwing the shot put. He still holds the University of Texas record for the shot put (68 feet, 4¾ inches). He even toyed with the idea of trying to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, even though he knew he couldn't take part because it would conflict with his football commitments.
Asked tongue-in-cheek, Robison said that he has actually given his hobby some consideration. He acknowledged that the muscles needed to help rehab his ailing shoulder are the same muscles key to his shot putting training – which he sees as a benefit in lessening the severity of his injury and helping in the healing process. However, active shot put throwing may be put on hold – temporarily for sure and possibly for good.
"I actually thought about that once or twice," Robison said. "I was like, ‘Man, this may mean I might never shot put again.' Right now, football is what I do and that's what puts food on the table. Football has always been my first love, so football is always No. 1 and that was my first thought. As far shot putting, we'll look at that later on."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Robison fought the pain until the end
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