There were a few things we learned about Luke Falk’s injured left wrist in the 24 hours leading up to the Holiday Bowl (which he would eventually miss), including that the injury was not new, and that surgery was performed on the wrist following the Apple Cup.
What we didn’t know was just how long the Washington State Cougars quarterback had been playing with it.
Cougfan.com’s Braulio Perez is reporting that Falk first injured the wrist against Boise State, playing the remainder of the season — that’s 10 games, nine of which came before a bye — with a protective cast. Additionally, Perez reports that the plan all along was to have surgery after the bowl game, but that “deteriorating ability to move the wrist” necessitated surgery two weeks ago to prevent long-term damage.
WSU, which is loathe to talk about injuries of any kind, went to great lengths to hide the damage to Falk’s wrist; Perez said “the cast was cut off after each game so reporters in the post-game media gatherings wouldn’t inquire.” That’s some serious commitment!
It’s clear Falk played with a variety of maladies in his three-plus years as the starter, but it’s hard to imagine the kind of pain Falk endured to continue lining up behind center with this one — catching snaps on every play, hitting the turf, etc. Such toughness is, at the very least, admirable.
Here’s to hoping the surgery was early enough that Falk is able to fully participate in the Senior Bowl. His NFL Draft stock has taken a precipitous hit this season, and that time in front of scouts doing pro-style things will be critical for his initial NFL prospects.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, who hashes out Falk’s draft prospects here, believes Falk’s toughness in playing with the injury is “only going to endear him to NFL teams,” and that teams will “wonder how much his health had to do with his struggles.” Jeremiah currently sees him as a third or fourth round prospect who could elevate himself into the second round with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl.
One final thought: I’m not going to tell you how you should feel about this or whether it should change your view of his uneven performance this season, but at the very least, I hope we can agree that those who suggested Falk had “quit” on the team can go crawl back into the hole they crawled out of, never to emerge again.