Franklin explains absence in Missouri football game vs. Arizona State

Monday, September 17, 2012 | 9:37 p.m. CDT
In pregame, Missouri quarterback James Franklin threw some passes, including a few hard ones, to test how he would be able to throw in the game. He decided to sit after feeling a lot of pain in the follow-through of his throwing motion.

COLUMBIA — Missouri quarterback James Franklin was asked Monday to rate his chances of playing against South Carolina.

On a scale from one to 10, where one means he definitely won't play and 10 means he definitely will play, Franklin said he's at a nine.

The junior quarterback said his right throwing shoulder feels better now after an inflamed bursa caused him to sit out Missouri's game Saturday against Arizona State.

Before the game, he told offensive coordinator David Yost that the pain in his shoulder was a nine on a scale of one to 10. Monday at the team's media day, Franklin described it as a stinging pain "like a 10-inch-sized bumble bee stabbing in there."

Just before the game, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and Yost let Franklin decide if he could play. Franklin declined painkillers and chose not to play.

Franklin said nobody in his family typically takes painkillers, including him. He said it was a personal choice and compared it to how he chooses not to drink or cuss.

"I like to feel the pain," Franklin said. "I like to be my own judge of it because I don't want to just numb it and play and then possibly hurt it more or do something and then, next thing I know, I won't be able to play for a couple weeks."

Franklin said he could have fought through the pain but did not feel comfortable going out on the field.

In pregame, he threw some passes, including a few hard ones, to test how he would be able to throw in the game. He decided to sit out after feeling a lot of pain in the follow-through of his throwing motion.

"I felt like I was maybe letting them (the team) down a little bit because we only get a certain amount of chances a year, 12 or 13, compared to all the other time that we spend. I didn't want to put that to waste by not being able to go out there and perform."

Franklin said Yost helped him feel more comfortable in making his decision by telling the quarterback not to feel as if he had to play.

At his media day press conference, Pinkel defended his quarterback's decision to sit out.

"Anybody that questions James Franklin's toughness, they have to have been in a coma for the last two years," Pinkel said. "He's one of the toughest athletes I've ever been around."

Franklin's replacement, redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser, also defended his teammate.

"James is probably the toughest kid on the team," Berkstresser said. "It's a long season. He wants to be there. He's definitely thinking about the team and not himself."

The Tigers were able to beat the Sun Devils with Berkstresser at quarterback. As the game began, Missouri felt it could still win with the backup, who had worked with the first-team offense in the spring after Franklin tore his labrum in the same shoulder.

Berkstresser said he wasn't sure if he would play until about five minutes before kickoff, but he prepared as if he would. His coaches were pleased with his performance.

"He probably outperformed what my expectations going in were, as a first-time starter against, I think, a really good Arizona State football team," Yost said.

Berkstresser said he will stay ready for next week. Whether the team needs him to start, or he just needs to run in for one play after Franklin's helmet comes off, he wants to be prepared.

Pinkel said the team trainers will decide Tuesday morning how much Franklin can participate in practice. Yost said Franklin will need to practice this week to be able to play against the Gamecocks, who have an injured quarterback of their own.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said he expects junior quarterback Connor Shaw to play at 2:30 p.m. Saturday when the Gamecocks host the Tigers. Shaw injured his shoulder in the team's season opening game against Vanderbilt on Aug. 30.

He missed South Carolina's game against East Carolina, where sophomore Dylan Thompson replaced him and led the Gamecocks to a 48-10 win. Shaw left the team's game last week after hurting his shoulder again in the second quarter against University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"It’s just painful. And it’s not going to get any worse, they (doctors) say," Spurrier said. "Whether or not he can practice, we’ll have to wait and see. But he should be certainly able to suit up and play this weekend."

Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.


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