New England Patriots players typically are hesitant to discuss injuries. Defensive end Rob Ninkovich bucked that trend Tuesday.
During an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich,” Ninkovich revealed he has been playing with a blood clot in his leg since late last season.
“I’ve played through a bunch of stuff,” Ninkovich said when asked to name his worst football injury. “But last year versus the Jets, I got hit in the leg, which turned into a blood clot. They thought that I had compartment syndrome, which is when you mess up part of your leg to where it swells up so much that they have to cut you open.
“That wasn’t compartment syndrome, but it just a very big blood clot in my leg, which turned into a hole — a big, cavernous, three-inch hole in my leg. And they had to pack it. Every day, they had to pack it with gauze, and I had to wear this thing over it, and I had to take antibiotics, and I still have a blood clot in my leg right now. So I hope that it doesn’t travel.”
Ninkovich said after the hit, which occurred during New England’s Week 16 loss to the New York Jets, his leg swelled to “four times the regular size.”
“You feel it,” he said. “It hurts. It hurt when I was going through it. It hurt when I was trying to play through it. It’s just something you have to deal with. Pain is pain. You’ve just got to try to deal with it as best you can.”
Ninkovich did not miss a game following the injury, playing in the Patriots’ final regular-season game and both of their playoff contests. He suffered a torn triceps during training camp, then sat out the first four games of this season after testing positive for a banned substance.
Since returning in Week 5, Ninkovich has averaged 47 defensive snaps per game.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images