Quarterback AJ McCarron led the Alabama Crimson Tide to a second straight national championship this past season. And he reportedly did so playing the final six games with injured ribs.
McCarron said he suffered the injury while being sacked during an Oct. 27 game against Mississippi State. McCarron played one more snap in that game before sitting out the fourth quarter. Alabama eventually cruised to an easy 38-7 victory.
He said the injury forced him to limit his throwing in practice from that point forward because of significant pain. However, he didn't end up missing any significant game action for the rest of the campaign.
"I had three ribs come out of place," McCarron told ESPN.com earlier this week. "They kept popping in and out of place, the one at the top, and it was just a nagging pain the whole time.
"I couldn't throw much during the week for a long time, really almost up to the bowl game. I was hurting really bad through the week, and it just took a long time for those ribs to heal."
The junior, who threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 30 touchdown passes during the season, said the long layoff between the regular season finale and BCS National Championship Game allowed his ribs to recover to near 100 percent.
"When it first happened, I still tried to throw some so our timing wouldn't fall off that much in our passing game," McCarron said. "That's one of the things that kind of put a damper on our passing game a little. I was injured, and we had so many receivers injured, so it was hard to do a whole lot in practice. That kind of threw us off a little, but we still kept it going."
McCarron said his willingness to play through the pain was just "part of being a leader."
The Mobile, Ala. native is a sparkling 25-2 as a starter for Nick Saban's program.
McCarron and the Tide will be vying for their fourth championship in five seasons in 2013.
Via Chris Low