Linebacker makes quick return from injuryBy Laura Owens | 11/08/2011 11:10pm
Senior linebacker Alex Watkins returned to action against LSU last Saturday, despite having broken his arm in the Tennessee game two weeks ago.
Watkins said he knew immediately when his arm was broken. He was trying to tackle the running back, and as Watkins pulled him back, an offensive lineman was pushing him, and his arm got caught up.
He counted 23 staples in his arm that sewed up the location of the inserted plate, which was put in the day after the game. He said he hoped the staples would be coming out Wednesday.
“They can be agitating,” he said.
Aside from the staples, there are other layers that went over his arm.
“You put a soft cushion around the cast, and then you put a hard cast on, and then put on this foam wrap,” Watkins said. “I get a new cast every practice, so it probably takes around 15 minutes.”
Watkins is also recovering from a knee injury he suffered during spring practice. He tore his ACL, sprained his MCL and tore his lateral meniscus. As a senior though, he knew he had to keep fighting the injuries for his last year.
“It’s very important to be on this team,” Watkins said. “It’s feeling like every time you get out there, you’re going to be a part of something great. Every time you get on the field, you’re playing for Alabama. Of course I want to be a part of that.”
Throughout last week, he said it was day-to-day as far as whether he’d be able to play or not. By about Tuesday or Wednesday, he started playing with special teams. In the game, he could only recall one hit that hurt.
“You’ve just got to fight through the pain and play for your team,” he said. “You’ve got to block it out. You’ve got to do what you’re capable of doing.”
Junior offensive lineman Chance Warmack said Watkins has amazed him this season.
“He’s made player of the week twice already with a messed-up knee, then he broke his arm, and he’s just a phenomenal guy,” Warmack said. “Nice person. He helped me get my rounds as a freshman. He’s just amazing. That’s the best way I can put it. Amazing guy, hard worker.”
Also overcoming an injury is offensive lineman Barrett Jones, who was hurt during the LSU game. In practice, Jones has been wearing a black jersey and working on the bike. During Saturday’s game, he was determined to stay in and play.
“I looked into Barrett’s eyes when he got down on the ground, and I already knew that he’s a tough person, and he’s a perfectionist first and foremost,” Warmack said. “I wasn’t even worried about him. I helped him up and asked him if he was good, and I already knew what the answer was.”
Looking to Saturday
The Crimson Tide will travel to Starkville, Miss., to play the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a stadium that is known for two things: cowbells and a big jumbotron screen. Warmack, who played a few snaps in Starkville as a freshman, said the two stood out to him equally.
“The cowbells are definitely a distraction,” he said. “Going into their home turf, you know what you have to prepare for. I’ve been there before, so I’m lucky to know what to expect.”