BOSTON (CBS) — There are many measures to a man’s toughness, but perhaps the best is one’s ability to play through serious pain without telling anyone about it. For a prime example, you need look no further than Logan Mankins.
The 30-year-old All-Pro guard for the Patriots played 15 regular-season games and three more playoff games last season. He said he felt pain during that time, but nothing out of the ordinary.
“There’s a lot of pain in football, right?” Mankins said Sunday.
There is, but not this kind of pain. Mankins found out after the Super Bowl that he had been playing with a torn ACL in his right knee. He didn’t divulge when exactly he suffered the injury, but hinted that it likely happened during the regular season.
“It wasn’t 100 percent,” Mankins explained, “but it was still functional.”
Mankins underwent offseason surgery to repair the torn ligament and missed the start of camp, but he was finally taken off the physically unable to perform list on Sunday and rejoined his teammates for practice. He said that in the past, he’d always make fun of players who missed practices due to injuries, and it isn’t hard to understand why.
“I could still run, so there was no reason to sit out,” Mankins nonchalantly told a somewhat incredulous media throng. “There were no MRIs or anything, so we never knew what exactly was hurt. If you could still run and play, there’s no reason to go see a doctor, right?”
The reporters huddled around Mankins asked him to explain how it’s possible to play through that kind of pain.
“I don’t know,” Mankins said. “Put a brace on, tape an aspirin to it, and go.”
Mankins’ personality is definitely a throwback to the football days of yore, “when men were men,” so to speak. His long holdout in 2010 seemed out of character, as he simply never gave the appearance of a man overly concerned with his finances. However since returning to the team in the middle of the 2010 season, he’s been the same player he was for the first five seasons of his career, and he wasn’t going to let a measly ACL tear suddenly change that or prevent him from playing in the Super Bowl.
“If I can run, I’m not going to sit out any game,” Mankins said Sunday. “I’m here to play football, not to watch and collect a check.”
Even Bill Belichick couldn’t help but offer serious praise to Mankins on Sunday.
“He’s worked hard. Nobody has worked harder than Logan,” said Belichick, who more often speaks in generalities regarding the entire team rather than single out individual players. “He comes in early, stays late, works hard. We know he’s a really tough, dependable guy and he’s put a lot into it. He’s worked as hard as anybody can.”
MANKINS DISCUSSES INJURY:
Mankins’ return comes at a rather fortunate time for the Patriots, after the offensive line had a rough showing in Thursday night’s preseason debut. The addition of Mankins installs a key piece to the unit that is tasked with protecting Tom Brady, so it’s maybe the most important position on the entire team. While it’s still unknown how long it will take the O-line to shape up, you know you can at least count on Mankins to be out there, and it’s safe to assume he won’t be missing any time due to injuries any time soon.
Never one to brag, Mankins was asked how high is pain tolerance is.
“It’s pretty good,” he said.
Yeah, that’s definitely one way to put it.