Guard Carl Nicks suffered a toe injury last season that even nearly a year later, still causes him pain. The former Saint spoke to the media on Monday after practice about the injury and the pain associated with it.
Injuries are a part of football. That statement is as obvious as the sun rose in the east today, and we need oxygen to live, but a fact nonetheless.
But for a big man like Carl Nicks, what some might think would be simple toe injury, not only will affect him playing football this season, it also will affect his daily life. And according to the Bucs mammoth left guard, not just for the foreseeable future – but maybe for life.
On Monday, following the Bucs last training camp practice, Nicks discussed the injury and the pain associated with it.
“I’d lie if I tell you it didn’t affect me at all, but you know, it affects the way I walk, the way I stand around like right now, I’ve got to stand a certain way,” Nicks said. “It’s just something I have to deal with.
“I have to deal with it my whole life, so it is what it is, and I have all the confidence in the world that I’ll be playing (despite the pain).”
Earlier in camp head coach Greg Schiano talked about Nicks' toe issue and the lingering problems it may pose.
“Well, guys, when you have certain surgeries, sometimes it never goes back,” Schiano said. “Just like us, right? I mean something’s fixed, it’s fixed, but it may never feel as good as new. They tell you it’s going to, but in this case I think Carl’s going to always play with some discomfort but that’s life being in the NFL.”
The injury was diagnosed as a torn plantar plate, and Nicks missed the final nine games of 2012 following the injury and surgery to repair it.
Dr. Lance Silverman of the Silverman Ankle & Foot in Minnesota wrote a blog about Nicks’ foot injury last year.A torn plantar plate is a dorsal (upwards) dislocation of the great toe. This happens when the big toe hyper-extends and the tissues on the bottom of the toe tear.
The plantar plate consists of a conjoined tendon and ligament (much like the patellar tendon). It has 2 bones within the tissue that stabilize the great toe and improve push off power. When the plantar plate is torn, the prognosis is almost always poor.
When treated non-surgically the toe usually remains unstable and lacks good push off power.
In a landmark 1990s study, Dr. Scott Rodeo showed that repair of these injuries in football players acutely and in a delayed fashion could be performed with good results.
Later Monday, Nicks went on to discuss his injury to the media, and despite the pain, wants to get on the football field.
“It’s not 100 percent yet, but I plan on playing some this next preseason game and you know, obviously the third one so we’ll just see how it goes,” Nicks said.
“Yeah, it is definitely that (painful). I don’t want to get into taking pain killers and not knowing if it’s hurting, or if it’s not so you know, I just got to suck it up.”
Nicks, despite the pain, is looking forward to getting back on the football field with his teammates.
“I’m thinking I’m going to play this week,” Nicks said. “You know, I’ve got to get some live action on the toe.”
Head coach Greg Schiano also agreed he wants to see Nicks in game action.
"Carl is going to come and if everything goes well Carl should take, not a lot, but some plays Friday night,” Schiano said. “We'll see if that comes off or not depending on how he is after practice.”
After answering numerous questions about his toe, the subject was changed to football itself, more specifically his outlook on 2013.
“We could be very special,” Nicks said. “I’ve got high aspirations and goals for this team and our offensive line, that’s where it’s going to start at and I know when me and Davin [Joseph] get back out there we’re going to do a good job.”
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