Davante Adams' sprained left ankle was still hurting when the Green Bay Packers entered their Monday night game against the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago, but the second-year receiver wanted to play anyway.
Adams tried to be tough. He wanted to gut it out. Three snaps into the game, he left after reaggravating the ankle sprain. Adams hasn't been back since, missing the Packers' past two games.
Adams said he felt like he rushed back too quickly from his sprained ankle before. It's a mistake he doesn't want to repeat.
"I felt like I could give it a pretty good shot," Adams said, "but it just clearly wasn't ready based on me rehurting it. It may have been a little bit early, but the ankle is a tricky one. It's one of those ones where it's not like a broken bone where you know you can't go. You've got to test it out, and I tested it, and it wasn't ready."
It wasn't the first time Adams played through an ankle injury.
In his final high school game – with the California state championship on the line – Adams sprained his ankle. His school, Palo Alto High, won the title with Adams on the field.
"I came back in the game," Adams said, "but after that it was pretty messed up."
So, Adams said, he's going to be patient with his ankle injury. No more rushing back to the field. Adams thought he might be able to play last week against the St. Louis Rams, but the medical staff decided to be "smart" with his ankle.
Adams could return this week when the Packers host the San Diego Chargers at Lambeau Field. Of course, there's also the temptation to wait an extra week, rest it during the Packers' bye, and return in three weeks when the Packers travel to the Denver Broncos.
"The thought goes through your head," Adams said, "but obviously the competitor in me wants to get out there and go. It's hard to watch my team go out there and play each week. So going to see how it goes and go off that."
It's been especially hard for Adams to watch the Packers' offensive struggles the past two weeks. Without one of their starting receivers, the Packers have stalled against the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams. One significant issue has been receivers' inability to create separation in the secondary.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Sunday that Adams' absence is a big reason why it's been more difficult throwing the football. Associate head coach Tom Clements, who handles the team's play-calling, said Adams has left a void on the field that's hard to replace.
"I think Davante can be an outstanding player," Clements said. "And when you don't have available your guys who are outstanding players, it makes it that much harder. But you've got to find a way to get it done and be productive."
Adams said he doesn't know whether he'll be available Wednesday when the Packers return to the practice field, or Sunday when they play their next game. Yes, it's been hard watching his team play without him, but he's been happy with the end result. The Packers have won both games, improving to 5-0 on the season. That success has allowed their receiver to be patient with his sprained ankle.
Adams said the offense's struggles with him on the sideline won't force him to rush back onto the field.
"They're going to make plays," Adams said. "They're going to do what they do. People are always worried about what was happening with the wide outs and if we're going to make plays here or make plays there. Plays are going to be made. It's not going to be a perfect game every time, but we got the win, and that's all that mattered."
firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood