Spiller putting up numbers despite pain

by - Senior Writer -
What numbers would C.J. Spiller be putting up if he was actually healthy?

Help cast a real Heisman vote for C.J. Spiller!

CLEMSON – C.J. Spiller has produced highlight reel plays in almost every game this season, seems to break some kind of record on every other play, and has propelled himself firmly into the Heisman Trophy race with his breathtaking performances.

Just imagine what the senior from Lake Butler, Fla., could be doing if he was healthy.

Spiller has been battling turf toe since the first game of the season, and has to receive daily treatments in order to be able to play on Saturdays. In last Saturday’s game against Florida St., Spiller either pulled up short or ran out of bounds on a few plays, and was limping noticeably during and after the game.

Spiller said on Tuesday that the pain is just a fact of life he has learned to live with.

“My foot hurts, my body aches, but this is the 10th week of the season,” Spiller said. “It’s football. This ain’t tennis. You’ll get beat up. I will be ready to go by Saturday.”

Spiller said that the amount of pain differs in each contest, just depending on how much wear and tear he gets as the game progresses.

”It really is depending on how the game is going,” Spiller said. “In Saturday’s game, I got banged around, and there was a good amount of pain. It was nothing serious, so I knew I had to just suck it up and continue to play. I got hit a couple of times in the legs and my knees, and my legs were getting tired. But I also knew that my team needed me out there, and I just had to suck it up and get back out there. It is just turf toe, so there is nothing broken in there.”

Spiller starts each day sometime between 5:45 and 6 a.m. with an ice treatment, and will take either one or two more treatments during the day, depending on his class schedule. He also said that if it were up to him, the treatments would occur while he slept.

Spiller doesn’t take a shot before the game, saying that he needs feeling in his foot in order to make his cuts, and that the only concession he makes to the injury is a metal insert inside of his shoe.

He also said that running out of bounds and avoiding the contact at the end of the runs is just a way of trying to stay healthy until the end of the season.

“That’s just being a smart player,” he said. “I’m pretty sure the other guys know my foot is hurt and they’re going to take shots at it anyway they can. I’ve felt a lot of things. That’s part of football. It doesn’t get under my skin. It just makes me play hard."

Typically, Spiller will do some conditioning work during the week until Team Thursday, which he uses to see if he can go full speed and to try and get the timing right with his offensive linemen.

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”It’s just about getting healthy enough to be ready to play on Saturday,” Spiller said. “I know the offense pretty well, but as a running back you have to have your timing down with the linemen.. There were some weeks that I didn’t have that, but on the weeks I did, I had a good game. I condition during practice, but doing it in a game is different.”

Spiller was asked if he would consider sitting out in order to rest or try and heal the toe, and his response was typical C.J.

”That is why I came back [to school], to be able to be put in a position to win the ACC and play in games like we played in Saturday,” he said. “This is a chance to be a senior and go out the way we want to go out. Once I get on the field, I don’t try to think about it, I just try and play. You just have to rest. It will get better once the championship game is over.”

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