View Full Version : Top 10 Playing With Pain Moments.

10-20-2004, 10:26 AM
SI.com's Top 10 Playing With Pain Moments
A superstar athlete hobbles onto the field of play, carrying his team's hopes for a championship with him, and comes through with the performance of a lifetime. It's a script that never gets old for sports fans, and it is what Boston Red Sox right-hander Curt Schilling hopes to follow in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium. Schilling was rocked in a Game 1 loss to the Yankees, but if he succeeds tonight, he will join this list of legendary, pain-filled moments.
Read our Top 10 and then tell us your favorite playing with pain moment.

1. Willis Reed
Situation: Game 7, NBA Finals, Lakers vs. Knicks
Injury: Severe pull of right thigh muscle.
Result: Without Willis Reed in Game 6, the Knicks allowed Wilt Chamberlain to rampage for 45 points and 27 rebounds in an easy Lakers victory. But Reed famously came out of the tunnel for Game 7 and limped onto the the court to a thunderous ovation at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks defeated the Lakers 113-99 to capture their first NBA championship as Reed scored four points on five shots in 27 minutes.

2. Kirk Gibson
Injury: Strained hamstring, sprained knee ligament.
Result: Down 4-3 with two outs in the ninth inning, Kirk Gibson came off the bench to face the game's most fearsome closer -- Dennis Eckersley. Gibson somehow worked the count full despite taking some terrible-looking swings at a few fastballs. Then Eck cut him a break by offering a slider which ended up in the right-field seats for a 5-4 L.A. victory. Gibson didn't bat again the rest of the Series, but he had already struck the biggest blow as the inspired Dodgers went on to win in five games.

3. Jack Youngblood
Date: Dec. 30, 1979
Situation: Divisional playoffs, Rams at Cowboys
Injury: Stress fracture, left fibula.
Result: In the first half, Jack Youngblood was chop-blocked by two Cowboys, causing his left fibula to snap above the ankle. But Youngblood got the trainers to tape him at halftime and even got a sack of Roger Staubach in the second half of the Rams' 21-19 upset victory. Youngblood used a leg brace the rest of the way as the Rams won the NFC title the next week at Tampa Bay before losing Super Bowl XIV to the Steelers, 31-19. Just for good measure, the future Hall of Famer played in the Pro Bowl as well.

4. Kerri Strug
Date: July 23, 1996
Situation: Olympic team gymnastics competition, Georgia Dome
Injury: Torn ligaments in left ankle.
Result: Keri Strug botched her first vault, scoring a measly 9.162 and busting up her ankle on the landing. The pain was significant, but the 4-foot-9, 87-pound gymnast somehow mustered up the courage to run down the ramp and perform one of the most difficult moves in women's gymnastics -- the twisting Yurchenko. The score was a 9.712, enough to hold off the Russians and earn the U.S. its first ever team gymnastics gold medal

5. Byron Leftwich
Date: Nov. 2, 2002
Situation: Marshall at Akron.
Injury: Broken left tibia.
Result: Byron Leftwich went to the hospital for X-rays in the first quarter of a scoreless game. By the time he came back, Marshall trailed 27-10 midway through the third quarter. Leftwich threw for 208 yards the rest of the way but his rally fell short as Akron held on for a 34-20 victory. The outcome of the game, however, long has been forgotten. The enduring image from that night was Leftwich being carried downfield by offensive linemen Steve Sciullo and Steve Perretta after a 41-yard completion to wideout Darius Watts in the fourth quarter and several other big plays.

6. Emmitt Smith
Date: Jan. 2, 1994
Situation: Cowboys at Giants
Injury: Separated shoulder
Result: By the time this one was over, everybody had forgotten that Emmitt Smith had held out for the first two games of the season. Smith broke a long run late in the first half only to have safety Greg Anderson catch up to him and twirl him to the ground awkwardly. Halftime X-rays revealed a separated shoulder, but Smith came back to rush 13 times for 59 yards and catch four passes to lead Dallas to a crucial 16-13 overtime victory that clinched the NFC East title, home-field advantage in the playoffs and a third straight rushing title.

7. Steve Yzerman
Date: Spring, 2002
Situation: Stanley Cup playoffs
Injury: Blown out knee
Result: How badly torn up was Steve Yzerman's right knee? Put it this way: After leading the Wings to a Stanley Cup finals victory against Carolina, Yzerman underwent reconstructive surgery that kept him sideline through the first half of the following season. Playing the second half and the entire postseason basically on one leg, Yzerman was brilliant, scoring 23 points in 23 games.

8. Michael Jordan
Date: June 11, 1997
Situation: NBA Finals, Game 5, Series tied 2-2, Salt Lake City
Injury: Flu
Result: Jordan was vomiting all the way up until game time, but you wouldn't have known it by the way His Airness played. Jordan scored 38 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter and a pivotal 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, to cap Chicago's rally from a 16-point first-half deficit. The win gave the Bulls a 3-2 series lead, setting up the clincher a couple of days later in Game 6.

9. Bobby Baun
Date: April 23, 1964
Situation: Stanley Cup finals, Game 6, Maple Leafs at Red Wings
Injury: Broken leg
Result: A Gordie Howe slap shot forced the Maple Leafs defenseman to be taken off the ice on a stretcher in the middle of the third period with the score 3-3. Bobby Baun had it taped and frozen, came back onto the ice and scored the game-winner in overtime to force a Game 7. Baun, who couldn't walk without crutches, came back in Game 7 as well to help Toronto capture the Cup with a 4-0 victory.

10. Donovan McNabb
Date: Nov. 19, 2002
Situation: Cardinals at Eagles
Injury: Broken right fibula
Result: Donovan McNabb isn't just a great quarterback. It turns out he can act, too. After breaking his right ankle on the game's third play, McNabb faked out his coaches and trainers into thinking it was just a sprain. He limited his game to pocket passing, throwing for 255 yards and four touchdowns on 20-of-25 passing as the Eagles crushed the Cardinals 38-14. It was the first time in his career that he did not have a single rushing attempt. Once the X-rays came in though, the Eagles wisely decided to sideline McNabb for the last six games of the regular season.

10-20-2004, 05:49 PM
To me Schilling's performance tops all of those.

10-20-2004, 06:59 PM
To me Schilling's performance tops all of those.
I don't know, I was pretty impressed with that Strug girl. That was awesome. No, not a long term endurance thing, but she stuck a one-legged vault after running at top speed for about 50 yards -- all on a mess of torn ligaments.

While Schilling's performance is stunning, it was his off leg.

10-20-2004, 07:18 PM
11. Jimcs50
Date: Oct 2nd 2004
Situation: Texas Holdem night with my buddies
Injury: Paper cut
Result: I had trouble shuffling, (the dude was too cheap to get an automatic card shuffler), so I had to suck it up. I also had severe pain when I had to drag the pot, but was still able to make a profit of $56. Everyone was impressed with my playing through the pain.

T Park
10-20-2004, 11:43 PM
Schilling is now in the top 5.

The stitches breaking and his ankle bleeding??

Thats SERIOUS pain, and SERIOUS manliness to play through it.

Schilling is in my top 5 favorite baseball players now.