Coming off the Detroit game in which he suffered a gruesome knee and ankle injury that had the Vikings medical staff concerned that he might be lost for a significant period of time, Munnerlyn was thankful to be back on the field in hopes of returning to action Sunday.
“It felt good to be back out there with my teammates and moving around a little bit,” Munnerlyn said. “It was very frustrating. I went five years without missing a game.”
When the Vikings went to Washington, Munnerlyn stayed behind to get treatment on his injury.
Not playing is one thing, but watching the game on TV was completely another. He felt a complete disconnect from his teammates and, for a player who prides himself on answering the call to duty every week, it was as painful as the throbbing in his knee and ankle.
“Missing the game this past Sunday, it kind of hurt,” Munnerlyn said. “I wasn’t able to travel with the team and do different things with the guys. But, at the same time, I can’t control injuries. I try to go out there and play fast and physical. I can’t control it. I had to miss a game. Hopefully, I’m back this week and flying around, moving around and making plays.”
The fact that he missed just one game before returning to the practice field is fortunate in itself. He injured his ankle and knee on the same play and, as he left TCF Bank Stadium, he confided that the injury “didn’t look good.”
Asked if he was concerned whether he might be out for the rest of the season, Munnerlyn said all he could do was ask God that the injury wasn’t as severe as he initially thought.
“Most definitely,” Munnerlyn said. “I was definitely concerned. I didn’t feel good at all. I had knee pain. My ankle was hurting. I was like, ‘Man, I got a double whammy.’ I just went home, I prayed. My mom prayed.”
Munnerlyn didn’t know what was worse a week ago Monday, getting both his ankle and knee looked at by the team doctors and praying surgery wouldn’t be needed or coming back to Winter Park and watching the play over again.
Both were frightening experiences.
“When I went and got the MRI, I got two MRIs,” Munnerlyn said. “I was like, ‘Dang!’ I came in and Sug (head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman) told me what I had. He said when we watched the play, ‘You got lucky.’ Now I’m just rehabbing and trying to get better.”
Lucky might be an understatement. It’s still unclear whether Munnerlyn will resume his starting duties this week – he’s confident he will – or has to sit out another week, but he feels fortunate simply having the discussion that he might be good to go Sunday.
A week ago at this time, he wasn’t nearly as confident.
“If you go back and look at the play, you would say the same thing,” Munnerlyn said. “My foot got caught up and pushed down and a knee isn’t supposed to bend like that. I definitely got lucky and I thank God for that.”