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He Felt Something Pop

Hopefully the last post I do about someone's toe.

ACC Sports delves into the great Toe Saga and basically says the same thing Jeff Goodman says but not nearly as caustically:

Within the program, it’s no secret that Lawson can be a bit of a headache at times, often hindered significantly by minor bumps and bruises. No one but Lawson can say for sure just how painful the swelling in his right big toe really is. But there is a sense that he has been far too dramatic about the situation and too unwilling to suck it up at a time when his team needs him.

Put it this way: You might have to cut off nine of Tyler Hansbrough’s toes to keep him from playing in an NCAA Tournament game. And what seemed to become most worrisome to the Tar Heels during the first NCAA weekend was the peripheral drain that the “Great Lawson Toe Watch” was causing.

On the day between UNC’s first- and second-round games, Lawson sat on the trainer’s table in the Tar Heels’ locker room during the team’s mandatory media availability. A horde of curious reporters swarmed around him for answers about the toe, and reporters also peppered Carolina’s starters about the injury.

“You guys are putting too much emphasis on one toe,” Hansbrough said. “I mean, we’ve been playing without Ty for a long time. And it seems like every day you guys want to have a toe update. I’m not really sure what I can say.”

The tension only heightened in the first half against LSU, when Lawson made just one of five shots, failed to get the Tar Heels’ fastbreak going and went to the bench less than 10 minutes into the game, making faces as if he had just been hit in the gut with an anvil.

Then, after halftime, he appeared to be as healthy as ever, draining a pair of three-pointers, attacking the hoop with obvious assertiveness and helping the Heels to a second-half outburst in which they shot 54 percent and scored 46 points to pull away.

“Ty was really worried about his toe (in the first half) and said that he heard something pop,” senior guard Bobby Frasor said. “But his emotion carried him. I knew he’d be fine once the adrenaline got rolling. And it was a legendary performance for him.”

Let me ask again: Why don't people understand the following?

1. Lawson played versus Duke with the toe numbed.
2. Playing with the toe numbed caused Lawson to put more strain on the toe than was advisable.
3. The medical staff thought the toe would not get worse with Lawson playing on it.
4. Therefore the toe was "100 times worse" after the Duke game setting back the healing time.
5. It took at least three days for the swelling to even go down from the Duke game and another week after that before the toe was anywhere close to not hurting.

And you know what the irony of all of this is? Lawson is having his toughness questioned for not playing which is a direct result of sucking it up and playing versus Duke. In other words Lawson is screwed no matter what he does. The reputation has already been attached and despite the fact that none of the games he missed really mattered or the fact it was clear to anyone who saw him Saturday night that there was still pain involved, people still seem hell bent on portraying Lawson in this manner.

So how is Lawson now? Much better it appears and that may actually be a result of the "pop" Lawson felt in his toe during the first half against LSU.  During a sequence versus the Tigers Lawson dove after the ball and in doing so tweaked the toe.  He says he heard a pop and was in a great deal of pain almost instantly.  On the bench he put a towel over his head clearly grimacing.  After a few minutes he was able to return to the court and in the 2nd half took the game over.  So what happened? Lawson indicated that the "pop" was scar tissue breaking free which is a good thing.  Scar tissue limits mobility and is more sensitive to pain than healthy tissue.  If you can get rid of it somehow, things get better. Based on various reports, including Roy Williams' radio show last night, Lawson was able to shoot and practice normally on Monday.

I imagine there are still some lingering issues with the toe but far less to worry about now.  Lawson should be fully ready to go Friday night as will be the case with the rest of the Heels.