That friend of yours who thinks he’s smarter than your entire fantasy football league can finally drop Michael Thomas from their bench now. The Saints receiver had a season-ending setback while recovering from ankle surgery, and announced the news himself via Twitter:
It’s tweets like those that make you feel bad about reducing an athlete and his injury struggles to fantasy football jokes, but here we are. The guy seems genuinely broken up about it, and I can’t imagine constantly being injured as it relates to work, let alone life.
Starting with his @cantguardmike social media handle, the anecdotes about Thomas’ propensity for selfishness are plentiful. As recently as this summer, there was a disagreement over his waiting longer than coach Sean Payton would have liked to get surgery on the ankle he’d just reinjured.
Payton can disagree with Thomas’ decision all he wants, and he can point to coaching while hurt himself. But an NFL wide receiver needs to do more than lose his “baby fat” via a few extra rounds of CrossFit to do his job.
To Payton’s credit — actually to the credit of both Payton and Thomas — they talked it out, and it sounded like the 28-year-old was again excited to play for the Saints, or at the very for their fans.
Rehabbing is real work, and athletes shouldn’t be judged for doing it “on the clock.” If you’ve never done physical therapy after a serious injury, think of it like playing the first level of Mario over and over and over and over again until they let you play the second level over and over and over and over, and so on until you’re healthy. And that’s assuming you have the fortitude to get past the mental hurdles that come with recovering from an injury of that severity.
Rehab is such a delicate process — push yourself too much and you risk hurting yourself again or as a result of it, a la Klay Thompson, but take it too lightly and you end up rupturing your achilles in the shower, a la John Wall. Even if you hit all the checkpoints and take precautions, you could still have a setback.
I will continue to make cheap jokes about football players as fantasy commodities because they’re funny and often at my friends’ expense, but, like not laughing at someone with car troubles or until you know they’re OK, I avoid getting amusement from bad things that could happen to me. (That’s why I never really feel bad for skydivers. They have to know a parachute malfunction was a possibility.)
So, no ill will meant, Michael. I’m not laughing at your injury; I’m laughing at my friend who was holding onto you like so many other fantasy reaches that fall short.
Next time you’re crutching your way to the fridge or cursing your aching ankle, think of all the psychos who got madder about your own injury than you did. Feel better? No? Well, I’ve got some jokes, but I don’t know if you’ll like them.