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Cory's Corner: How Important Is Rest?

The recent string of injuries from the Golden State Warriors made me think about how we view injuries.

Kevin Durant tore his Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. He is arguably a top three player in the NBA right now and he was coming back from a calf injury he suffered in the Western Conference Finals. 

Obviously, Durant didn’t have to come back to preserve his own legacy. That is solid. He’s been an NBA Finals MVP twice and a regular season MVP once. 

Yet, he still felt compelled to come back. 

So the question is, what’s more important: The present or legacy? Many people think that injuries are just a stumbling block. You know the old saying, “Rub some dirt on it.” But at what point does the player do more harm than good by going out there and trying to be the savior?

I didn’t want Aaron Rodgers to play in Week 17 vs. Detroit. He played through a sprained MCL in his left knee and also a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg. The Packers were eliminated from playoff contention and the season finale didn’t mean anything. 

Yet, the Packers trotted their $134 million man out there and he ended up with a concussion.

Training staffs and team doctors are excellent at what they do. Yet, many players rebuff their recommendations and go out and play anyway. Even if Durant was told he could not make his injury any worse, that doesn’t mean the final decision wasn’t his, because it was. 

And now Durant is out for an entire year. Will something like this stop players from trying to be a superman as they look toward healing completely and being an asset for the upcoming season?

Injuries are a part of the game, even more so in the NFL. However, are we inching closer to a time when players begin to weigh the pros and cons of coming back from an injury a lot closer vs. just trying to be tough by rubbing dirt on it?

I would argue that players know their bodies better than anyone else in the world. They have trained and trusted their bodies their entire lives. If a team clears a player and a player still isn’t feeling right and doesn’t want to play, how will the team receive that?

Everyone saw Durant go down and we all saw how much of a loss it was for the Warriors to lose him. How many players will be willing to put aside that hero mentality in favor of getting more rest? I wouldn’t be surprised if more playersgive it a second thought. 


Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (26) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

It was absolutely stupid for Rodgers to play once they were eliminated from playoff contention. The concussion was the result.

Coldworld's picture

I think players often don’t know their bodies as well as you think. There are a lot of conflicting emotions among those who care about the team or winning. Most players want to play. Great players are competitors, it’s part of what makes them rise above the merely good. Frustration leads to temptation. It is up to teams to restrain them more often than not and to make sure that the decision is rational not born out of emotion.

I completely agree with Bear. That decision was irresponsible. No meaningful upside only downside. Not acceptable. I felt the same way about playing Graham once we were effectively done and he obviously was struggling to catch. Wasting an opportunity for others to grow. No long view = no strategic thinking = no leadership.

That said, were it a Super Bowl and the Docs were of the opinion that there was an elevated risk but that the player could perform fully absent further injury, then I think you allow a star player to make the call. It’s their life and the opportunity may never come again. But that is the only time.

4thand1's picture

You have to respect AR for starting the last game. He could have sat on the sidelines in street clothes, but how would that look? The line says it all, "yet , the Packers trotted their 134 million dollar man out there ". The fans came to see their 134 million dollar man play, and he manned up and started.

ricky's picture

The final words in this post are the root of the problem:

"...and he manned up and started."

Ridiculous. You'd risk having your player have an injury that could sideline him for an entire season, just to satisfy some fans who came to see him play? Terrible decision. And the idea of "mannin up" needs to be seriously rethought. The idea that guys should just suck it up and put it all on the line for some ideal of "being a man" is passe. These guys put in on the line every week for 16 grueling weeks. And if they're hurt, they should risk their careers to prove how tough they are? To who?

ricky's picture

The final words in this post are the root of the problem:

"...and he manned up and started."

Ridiculous. You'd risk having your player have an injury that could sideline him for an entire season, just to satisfy some fans who came to see him play? Terrible decision. And the idea of "mannin up" needs to be seriously rethought. The idea that guys should just suck it up and put it all on the line for some ideal of "being a man" is passe. These guys put in on the line every week for 16 grueling weeks. And if they're hurt, they should risk their careers to prove how tough they are? To who?

jannes bjornson's picture

If they were discussing growing a few pair, then point to the Offensive Line to do their job and protect the QB. The malaise that percolated through that doom and gloom game looked like something out of the Infante years.
The defense was disgusting and gutless. A terrible game to attend. Joe Phibin? Pettne should have run the show for the remaining games.

Since '61's picture

Excellent post and exactly correct Jannes.
Thanks, Since ‘61

fastmoving's picture

Life is never safe, he is a player and should play and he should want to play as well. He could get hurt at a pick up basketball game or doing stuff in his house.

And you have to live in the present to have a chance for a legacy some day.

Since '61's picture

There are probably more players than we will ever realize playing through injuries every day in every major sport.

Brett Favre played through all types of injuries in numerous meaningless games and we loved him for it and yet Rodgers does it and he is criticized for it. Makes no sense.

I watched Mickey Mantle play most of his HOF career on two legs which were wrapped from his ankles to his hips just so he could walk never mind play at an HOF level. Players play. They live with the injuries and the pain. Some do it for the money, some for the glory, some for their teammates, some just to compete, some for all of the above. They play until they can’t play effectively any longer. Look no further than our recently dearly departed Bart Starr. Thanks, Since ‘61

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I don't blame AR for playing. I don't blame the medical staff.

I blame the coaches and the FO.

Since '61's picture

TGR correct as usual. I agree completely.
Thanks, Since ‘61

Turophile's picture

There is no binary yes/no answer.

Assess your injury as impartially as you can, take advice of those that you trust, and make your decision accordingly.

Different people have different motivation levels and different tolerances of pain. As has been mentioned, many, even most NFL players, have bruises and other twinges that they play with through the season.

It's all about where lies the line between play and don't play, and that should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Tarynfor12's picture

Playing with an injury or returning to early from injury isn't as cut and dry as portrayed.

Rodgers came back in week 17 not because he was healthy enough or because the team was in the running for the playoffs or anything significant, no, Rodgers IMO came back because he needed to be on the field the last game while the one in the conflict wasn't, McCarthy. The winner needed to show up for the proverbial bow. Naturally he and others will say he was healthy and should play but the decision if being made from sound reasoning would have had him on the sideline in street clothes but HIS ego undoubtedly won out...he is the franchise after all.

Durant's decision to return was an attempt to have teams that are pursuing him, see him as a play at all cost guy but it backfired. I.m sure he was only attempting to last the game,win or lose, play good or bad, but leave that last mark of his value looking up for a suitor.

Players of such caliber are either trying to create a legacy, save a legacy or recapture a once thought to possibly become a legacy. Players that are already deemed as to having one set in stone, such as Rodgers,Favre,Durant do so for the admiration which they for some reason may ebb if they're not seen for too great a time. Example would be Andrew Luck as to how much recognition and support he lost while out for so long.

Durant came back for reasons and the one at the top wasn't about his caring for the team but his legacy and what would happen to it if he didn't. That's what happens to one who during a season is involved or creates an issue to going forward, it sometimes puts you in a situation where you make the wrong decision to create,save or recapture what you have, didn't lose or get back what never waned in the first place.

Rodgers needed to play in week 17 as much as he needed to play in weeks 2-3 or even 4 earlier. One can imagine a different seasonal outcome had he waited and a total healthy Rodgers playing the remainder...probably increased the playoff odds 100 fold to the likely....yes?

Adorabelle's picture

Sorry the verbiage was very hard to understand but if I got the gist of it I believe I disagree. I do not think players go out there with the mindset of "look at me I am a tough guy" when they play with an injury. I think it is just the culture that in football everyone has some level of aches and pains every game. Thats just how it is. Everyone is hurting if they play football. So, you play hurt because everyone plays hurt. The decision is only whether you are hurt to the level of hurting the team. Most positions can not hobble around and help the team but a quarterback can. When the Packers fell apart last season and lost 5 of 6 games was after the bye in late October and November when the injury to the quarterback was no longer the problem with the team.

Tarynfor12's picture

The only thing wrong with the verbiage is that you want it to be wrong. I made it as simple as I can for those like you who will go out of their way to discredit anything I post. But worry not, I will continue more often as soon as the articles calls for such and preseason begins.

IceBowl's picture


The persecution complex you (and a couple of other??) displays is nice comedy relief.

I wish I could send you a box of roses and the most modern body shield/helmet to protect you.

I tried to make it as simple as I could.

jannes bjornson's picture

He gets payed beaucoup dollars to play, not sit like a prima donna worried about a few endorsement dollars being risked or bowing down to some Agent from Miami. That type of thinking is for pimps and hustlers from Madison Avenue and Silicon valley. Rodgers has some spine. He Leads. He doesn't Dodge the threat and make excuses. This is pro football, not the cyber olympics from fantasyland.

IceBowl's picture


You say .... "So, you play hurt because everyone plays hurt." That is what it looks like on the surface.

But it is very short sighted, maybe media driven, and not the real reason why, And also shows me you have not played TEAM sports. Many haven't. No problem.

The biggest reason players play hurt is to not to let their brothers/teammates down. A brother on the left, a brother on the right, another brother behind. And when they leave the field another group of brothers take the field. It is a very special bond. A bond you need to experience to appreciate and suffer for.

It is the team FAMILY!

NitschkeFan's picture

I wrote then and agree again, that playing Rodgers in that meaningless game was plain stupid on the part of management. Some posters here keep posting nonsense about the "paying customer".

Well I live in Toronto. All hail the Raptors! And guess how happy we paying customers are that Leonard's "load management" enabled him to play every playoff game. He was sore and limping throughout the finals but without his 20 games off during the mostly meaningless regular season there is no way he would have made it through the playoffs. He carried the team past Philly and the Bucks (sorry I know a lot of Packers fans must be Bucks fans) and even at less than full health, with different team mates stepping up and some incredible bad luck for the Warriors, he led them to a Championship.

Championships are great!

Missing some meaningless regular season games is only a problem for those fans who don't understand that the goal is to win the MEANINGFUL games. Last December we all knew that Rodgers next meaningful game wasn't until September 2019.

Adorabelle's picture

Football is a much shorter season and missing one game is the equivalent of missing 5 or 6 basketball games and 10 plus baseball games. You do it when you need to but if you are healthy you play. I tend to agree that Aaron Rodgers didn't need to play in December but load management in football is different than other sports. A lineman or a back can get some snaps off and thats load management. A quarterback though is either playing or not playing.

IceBowl's picture


I tried to explain above. You dismissed it and went to this. There is no comparison to other sports. You want to compare football to basketball, baseball, or hockey??

I do not see the comparison except they are all team sports.

Adorabelle's picture

Because the original whole post was about how the basketball team rested a player so he'd be ready for the playoffs. That is not how it works in football. Resting in football is getting 20 carries instead of 30.

I agreed with your other post. I thought we said the same thing. You play hurt in football because you know how hurt the guy next to you is and you stick together. It didn't require being insulted in the post but I agreed with the sentiment.

IceBowl's picture

All I can say is ask "Vince?"

IceBowl's picture

My children offered up "A Happy Fathers Day" to the Pack pack.

PatrickGB's picture

When athletes “rest” it’s the time in which the body heals and often grows stronger in response to the stress of training and the games played. Rest is good. After a certain point the body cannot heal itself fast enough to heal and improve. That means an injury to one part of the body causes stresses to another part as it tries to compensate. Rest prevents or avoids that overcompensating injury.

IceBowl's picture

Ask Vince. How were his players ready and productive???

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