Notre Dame's Kyle Rudolph: No regrets about playing through injury
Kyle Rudolph said he had no regrets about trying to play through a ''nagging'' hamstring.
They never do.
You don't have to be a doctor to know that playing through a hamstring injury is a risky proposition -- a bigger risk for Usain Bolt than Kyle Rudolph, but still a risk. The hamstring is so integral to any movement of the legs -- like walking, for instance -- that once it's ''tweaked'' or strained it can only get worse unless it's allowed to heal completely.
When Rudolph outran Michigan safety Cameron Gordon to the end zone on his 95-yard touchdown catch against the Wolverines, it was assumed Rudolph's hamstring problem was over. As it turns out, it had been bothering him since he orginally injured it in July. (And Gordon, a converted wide receiver with 4.6 speed in the 40, made him look faster).
''I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't worried when I was running [on that play],'' Rudolph said. ''Looking back it would be interesting to see how fast I would have run on two good legs.''
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly had indicated previously that Rudolph's desire to play was a factor in allowing him to play through the injury. ''You can't tell Kyle Rudolph you're shutting him down. He wants to ... compete,'' Kelly said after Rudolph caught five passes for 38 yards against Pittsburgh. ''He's a pretty good tight end at 75 percent.''
But he's no help at all at 0 percent. Still, Kelly did not second-guess his decision to allow Rudolph to play through the injury.
''I think we covered all the things we needed to do relative to the injury,'' Kelly said. ''He was in great hands with our training staff, with our doctors. It was a Sunday conversation, literally with our training staff and doctors. It was a daily interaction we had with Kyle.
''[It's] just one of those unfortunate things that occurs in a sport like this, and this is an injury that's unfortunately is becoming a lot more common because of the explosiveness of these young men.''
Rudolph, a 6-6 junior from Cincinnati, is rated the No. 1 tight end for this year's NFL draft, potentially a late first-round pick if he decided to leave school early. With all things considered, it's a little surprising he didn't take a more conservative approach. Now he not only might have affected his draft status, but he'll miss out on playing in an offense that could blossom in the second half after he labored through the growing pains.
''No, I don't regret playing in any of the games I played in,'' Rudolph said with certainty when asked if he feels he should have waited until he was 100 percent to get back on the field. ''In all actuality, it was my decision to go when I did and go as hard as I did. It's something I definitely don't regret.''
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