As a redshirt junior in November 2009 Christian Ponder had a whale of a season going for him . He was third in the country for yards per game. A 68% completion percentage. And then it happened. He threw an interception. Actually it was his 4th interception that game. An Interception that he admitted made him extremely mad. So, what did he do? He took off and tackled safety DeAndre McDaniel. That tackle caused a grade 3 AC tear in his shoulder. Have you ever heard of this type of injury before? I have. Its identical to the Sam Bradford injury he suffered to his shoulder the same year.
This type of injury would worry me. Except that I have seen how Bradford came back from that surgery. I have also witnessed Ponder's return to the football field in 2010. I am convinced that his surgery to his throwing shoulder was successful. According to Spielman he throws now with the same velocity as he did then. Good to go.
Other injuries happened. Read about them after the jump
Christian Ponder had an injury to his right elbow during the 2010 season. Apparently the muscle or ligament was pulled away from the bone. Although painful it is not dangerous. It did cause a space for fluid to build up so he had to drain the Bursus sack before each remaining game. A painful but easy procedure each week. He suffered a concussion in the last regular season game of the season while running for extra yards. After that game he had surgery to repair the elbow. He recovered enough to play in the Bowl Game for Florida State at the end of the year. Unfortunately scar tissue had built up in the elbow and the scar tissue was surgically removed prior to the Senior Bowl. This is typical scar tissue surgery. Those types of surgeries are like going to the dentist for football players. Some even go twice per year. As of this moment, Christian Ponder, he is fine.
Much has been said about his "injury prone career". Little has been said as to how those injuries occurred. It appears to me that none of them happened when he was sacked by a Defensive player. None of them occurred in the pocket. None of them tend to show a pattern of the same injury. None of them confirm to me that he can't play in the NFL. Now I don't subscribe to the theory that a player is lucky or unlucky. Just not a believer in that kind of thing.
What I do believe in is playing hard. A QB going out and making a tackle he is not trained to make is not a smart move. I would almost bet Ponder will do it again. Even against the risk of injury. He plays hard. He tries hard. He is a leader. And leaders don't quit just because there is a risk of injury. Now, I would also bet that he will learn to quarterback slide. That type of risk makes sense. Get the needed yards and slide. Avoid injuries.
While researching this article I found quotes that said he had three shoulder surgeries. I found quotes that he missed most of the 2010 season. I found much distortion of his record. I'm sure bad reporting occurs due to laziness and preconceptions by the writers. Maybe I'm only looking at the good. But from the facts I am reading this kid is healthy, ready to play, back to normal, and will play his heart out on Minnesota. He will play through pain if possible.
I bet with him as your leader most players will do the same. My favorite quote comes from Jimbo Fisher, the head coach at Fl.State. " He has played better than anyone I have ever had.
One observation I read that I like a lot was this. "Beyond his numbers, Ponder, ..., exuded a mental and physical toughness that his teammates were slowly emulating."
I really like that. A team leader that players emulate. Tough, gritty, talented. Kinda reminds me of Leslie Frasier,himself. Yeah, I like this pick