After undergoing his seventh surgery in the last six years, Denver Broncos linebacker Karl Mecklenburg vowed to be back for the last two games of the season “and the playoffs, of course.”
Mecklenburg broke his right thumb at Kansas City six weeks ago, and had two metal pins surgically inserted to stabilize the fracture. He missed one game but resumed playing with his hand in a heavy cast. In Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh, he landed hard on the cast and one of the pins broke.
He said he briefly considered having another cast put on his thumb, but decided not to jeopardize his career.
“They said if it happened again, all they could do was fuse the joint, and I wouldn’t be able to play football like that,” Mecklenburg said.
Doctors repaired the latest damage this week, and Mecklenburg is expected to be sidelined about six weeks.
“I’m not good at sitting and watching,” Mecklenburg said. When he missed the Raiders game Sept. 26, it was the first game of sanctioned football he had missed since his freshman season at the University of Minnesota.
“I’ve had my share of operations,” he said, “but it’s always been either before or after the season.”
Although the Broncos have a 4-4 record, Mecklenburg said he was counting on another playoff appearance.