THE MEN WHO agree to talk about what happened do so reluctantly. Their eyes invariably drift to the spot in question: the grass practice field, somewhere Marcel Dionne Authentic Jersey near the 30-yard line, right hash. It happened with the offense heading north, 22 men on the field, no contact allowed.
They won’t talk about what the injury looked like, out of respect. These are men who long ago came to terms with the inhumanity of their game. They laugh about concussions and broken bones as a defense mechanism, the way an electrician might laugh with his buddies about getting a jolt from a faulty circuit. Occupational hazard.
But this is different. They close their eyes and wince, the image flashing Marian Gaborik Authentic Jersey in their minds. They shake their heads reflexively, as if they can dislodge the memory and evict it from their brains. They watched Teddy Bridgewater go down on that field on Aug. 30, his left leg separating at the knee, during the first minutes of a Vikings preseason practice. Every time they think about it, every time they stand near this field and close their eyes, they see it again.
He must have pulled a hammy, Smith thought.
Smith swung around to the receiver and saw that he was looking toward the backfield. He was reacting to someone else’s pain. Smith followed his eyes to see helmets flying and teammates jumping away like the grass was on fire. He heard them screaming, and Bridgewater screaming, and he saw powerful men rendered powerless.
You don’t think he’s good for three more in his first season uncoupled from KD?
Given that the Thunder went 18-0 in Westbrook’s triple-double games last season, they’ll surely be encouraging him.
HARRISON SMITH WAS running downfield with his back to the play, making sure he didn’t get beaten on a deep route. Even in a practice, and a noncontact drill, that’s important. It’s six weeks later, and he’s standing next to that field running the calculus through his head. He concludes that he must have been the person farthest from the injury. He pauses a moment to give thanks. When it happened, he heard a scream from a receiver who had turned back toward the play. It was an expletive that carried an unmistakable pitch: pain.