Players gathered around medical staff and an injured player who laid motionless in the middle of Lincoln Financial Field. Many knelt in groups and prayed. Fans watched in worry.
Over twenty minutes later, Malcom Floyd was being driven off the field strapped to a stretcher, his body strapped down and his helmet’s face mask drilled off. Fans clapped and players from either team spoke to Floyd as he exited the field that was the home of an ongoing football game.
The San Diego Chargers announced during the remainder of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 15 that Floyd had suffered a neck injury.
Later that month, the Chargers released more details about the receiver’s injury, saying he suffered a spinal disk issue.
Floyd had been squashed between two Eagles defenders after he attempted to catch a pass from quarterback Philip Rivers in the third quarter. As the broadcast played the play over and over again in slow motion, people watched his neck being smashed back inside his shoulder pads as if it was an accordion.
Floyd was immediately rushed to a local hospital. He did, however, fly home with his team later that day.
“[It’s] part of football,” Floyd, who sported a large neck brace, told media at Chargers Park the following day, according to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego.
The injury ended the season for the receiver, who is known for his acrobatic catches down the field.
He is now hoping the injury doesn’t also end his career.
“I definitely want to play again,” expressed Floyd, who has played 10 seasons in the NFL all with the Chargers. “I definitely do. I’m getting better steadily, and if my body allows me to play, I’m going to do it. I’m really excited for our team. I want to add some more firepower. … If not, then yeah, I need to hang it up. It won’t do anything positive. It won’t help out me or the team.”
Floyd has been resting and rehabbing his injury for the past five months. He says he feels he’s progressing.
“As soon I got hit, my limbs went limp,” Floyd told media in San Diego. “It seems like those prayers were answered because I could be in a wheelchair right now. [But] I’m up and walking and ready to get better every day.”
Although he no longer has to wear a neck brace at all times, he still wears one to bed each night and copes with pain.
But that doesn’t keep Floyd down.
The humble receiver is very optimistic about coming back to football. The injury has been one that players have come back from. It has also been one to end careers. For now, there is still no timetable to when, or if he’ll be back.
Floyd is set to meet with Dr. Robert Watkins in late February. He said the appointment will give him a sense of which direction he may be heading in; the field, or the stands.
Floyd, 32, would enter his 11th season in the league next year. He has career totals of 239 receptions, 4,133 yards, and 25 touchdowns. His contract runs through 2015.
Floyd, who is well respected in the locker room for his work ethic and caring personality, expressed his desire to help his team and rejoin his teammates.
“This city deserves a championship, regardless. That’s what I’m coming to play for… I feel like I can still go out there and make plays. I’m confident, but at the same time, I have to make sure I’m healthy,” he said.
If Floyd and fellow wide receiver teammate Danario Alexander, who suffered a season ending knee injury in training camp, can both make a comeback – and then stay healthy through the season – the Chargers offense could get a lot more potent in 2014.
Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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