You probably already read about the scary incident this offseason for Christian Ponder. There is a full account of the situation over on 1500 ESPN but I will briefly summarize. The incident involved Ponder’s right arm which as we know suffered some kind of condition – an alleged triceps bruise – that kept him from participating in the playoff game last year. Well Ponder thought everything was okay with the arm until suddenly it went haywire on him again. Ponder rushed to the hospital and was told he would need surgery. Scary scary stuff.
It was at this critical moment that Vikings trainer Eric Sugarman intervened. Sugarman told Ponder to ignore the doctors and just ice the arm. Lo and behold, the arm went back to normal and now everything is fine. And Eric Sugarman is being hailed as the man who rescued Christian Ponder from unnecessary surgery. And may have saved the entire Vikings franchise.
A feel-good story to be sure. But it has a little bit of a dark lining if you ask me. What do we make of this recurring situation with Ponder’s arm? It already caused him to miss the most important game of his pro career. And the fact is, that wasn’t the first time Ponder had similar issues. He also missed some big games in college because of his dodgy arm. We have been assured that this is not a chronic situation for Ponder. We were told the arm injury before the playoff game was just a thing that happened and did not point to a deeper problem. But here comes the arm again.
You just have to ask, what if the arm flares up again before a big game? What if Ponder is forced to miss a significant amount of time during the season becuase of this issue? The more times Ponder’s arm blows up, the harder it will be for the Vikings to downplay the significance of the issue. They can say it’s not a chronic thing but if it keeps happening? It is, by definition, a chronic thing.
I have to believe the Vikings are more concerned about this than they are letting on. Did they not sign Matt Cassel this offseason? Was that just for veteran presence behind Ponder or are they worried the arm could force Ponder out of the lineup? Is Cassel there precisely because the Vikings are worried about Ponder’s arm?
I think it’s something to keep an eye on as we go forward.