FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty played through a fractured rib at the end of the season, which makes his rookie campaign appear even more impressive.
McCourty hurt his rib during the second quarter of New England's Week 14 victory in Chicago. After forcing a Johnny Knox fumble — the fourth consecutive game in which he forced a turnover — McCourty landed awkwardly on the frozen turf and cracked the rib. He briefly returned to the game but sat out the entire second half against the Bears.
McCourty missed the Patriots' next practice, but that was all. He didn't miss a game during a tremendous season in which he finished second in the Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.
"One good thing, I guess you could say, when you fracture something or something like that is it's been pretty good," McCourty said Tuesday. "It hasn't hurt. I got it looked at before the end of the season. Probably about a week or two after it happened, I was able to go out there and play [without pain]."
McCourty, who will attend the NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles this weekend, said he has been resting and working out since returning from the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. He's got a home in Foxboro, but he'll also return to Rutgers to work out with the Scarlet Knights' strength and conditioning staff, as well as his former teammates who are playing in the NFL.
Earlier on Tuesday, McCourty spoke to 150 fans at The Hall at Patriot Place to share the story of his first season in the NFL.
"I think about where I was and, I guess, how many people said I couldn't do this and couldn't do that," McCourty said. "To exceed expectations, go out and not worry about anything except for playing football, it's been a great ride this first season."