Virginia Tech left guard Greg Nosal earned tough-guy points on Saturday, postponing the reattachment of a torn-off tip of his left pinkie to keep playing.
Turns out, he had no idea how bad he was hurt for a few plays.
Nosal said Monday night that he had missed a block early on the play and then quarterback Tyrod Taylor started scrambling. He said that was when he ''went to crack back on the defensive end and my pinkie got caught in his facemask. And I just felt like it was a really bad cut.''
Nosal said he spent the rest of the series squeezing his hand between plays, trying to apply pressure to the wound, then looked down and saw that his glove was covered in blood.
As he trotted off at the end of the series, ''I take my glove off and I look down and I see my bone sticking out. I immediately ran over to (trainer Mike) Goforth. And I was like, 'Will you guys tape this up?' And he grabbed my arm and ran me into the locker room.''
Goforth asked Nosal where it happened on the field, and Nosal didn't understand why.
''Finally, as were walking to the X-ray room, I'm like, 'Why do they want to know? Did my finger fall off?' And he's like, 'I'll tell you when you're laying down.'''
The coaches wanted to find the severed tip of Nosal's finger, and after they ran out onto the field looking for it, he suggested it might still be in his glove. It was, and after team surgeon Marc Seigel determined it could be reattached, they gave Nosal a choice:
Let us do it now, or we'll put the tip on ice, tape you up and you can play again.
The 6-foot-6, 293-pound redshirt junior decided to play, and with help froma pain killers, rejoined his team in the second half and played into the fourth quarter.
The finger tip was stitched back on in the fourth quarter, after the pain medication had started to wear off. The Hokies led 31-7 and were substituting liberally in a 45-21 victory.
''You talk about a tough guy,'' Hokies coach Frank Beamer said Monday. ''For him to continue to play, it says a lot about him and what his effort for this football team is.''
As for Nosal, he's been surprised the injury has gotten so much attention.
''I guess it's a big deal if your pinkie got ripped off,'' he said.