Is Justin Tuck still spooked about his neck injury?
“Ehhhh,” the defensive end said today when asked that question.
In other words, yes. So much so that he said he would rather be dealing with the shoulder injury he had in 2009 when he needed to have his arm buckled to his body just to play in games.
“The neck is just … even though it’s nowhere near that point (of other players such as Peyton Manning and Mathias Kiwanuka last season), it’s just scary hearing that. You don’t ever want to hear that. Pain-wise, the shoulder was much more painful. I’d still rather have the shoulder though.”
Tuck missed a second straight day of practice. That could become his routine as he works through this injury that has lingered for over a month.
“It’s not serious enough right now where I’m saying ‘Coach, you might have to shut me down for three weeks,’” Tuck said. “It’s like go through these practices and get in there to watch film so you know this football team and we’ll try to slide by with you missing a few practices here in the early part of the season to give it an opportunity to quiet down.”
Tuck said he was frustrated by the neck injury “the second it happened.”
“You never want to be hurt,” he said. “Considering all the injuries we’ve had, I would love to put a lot more burden on myself to help this football team out. Obviously being on the sideline doesn’t help that.”
He also said that the injury prevents him from playing at his best, something defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said he’s noticed.
“The longer it stays the more accustomed you get to it which can be dangerous,” Tuck said. “I realize there are things I can and can’t do on the football field right now, and obviously that helps me (psychologically), but physically it takes away from some of the God given talents I have to be a good defensive end.”
Tuck did say that the equipment guys have changed some things around on his shoulder pads to give him some relief and some extra protection when he’s playing. But the fact that it’s his neck clearly is playing tricks with Tuck’s head.
“I mean, it’s your neck,” he said. “You go out there and you play a physical sport that your neck is involved in … Even if I was completely heatlthy, if you said anything about my neck I would be like eww.”