David Ash playing through pain exactly what Texas needs

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David Ash looks downfield during Texas’ 63-21 loss to Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl last Saturday. Ash suffered a broken left wrist in the fourth quarter of the defeat but will still take the field when the Longhorns face Baylor at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday. 

Photo Credit: Andrew Torrey | Daily Texan Staff

If you didn’t already know he was hurt before he spoke to reporters this week, you would have thought the wrapping on his left wrist was decorative.

The last time David Ash’s non-throwing wrist was seen without something covering it up, it looked like a black and blue golf ball was lodged under his palm. A source told The Daily Texan that the doctors who treated Ash believe his wrist is broken but could not find exactly where the break took place.

But, somehow, Ash was back on the practice field Sunday, taking snaps and throwing passes. The day after that, he spoke of playing Saturday against Baylor as if it was a foregone conclusion.

And that’s exactly what Texas needs right now.

After suffering the third worst loss in the 186 games that the Longhorns have played since Mack Brown took over as head coach in 1998, their injury list is a long one. Jordan Hicks has missed the last three games with a hip injury. Malcolm Brown has missed the last two with a hurt ankle. Jackson Jeffcoat is out for the rest of the year with a torn pectoral muscle. Donald Hawkins (ankle) and Brandon Moore (neck) were hurt against OU and may miss this week’s game as well.

“It definitely looks worse than it feels,” Ash said, shrugging off the injury. “When it hit in the game, I just kind of said, ‘Shoot, that kind of hurt.’ I was running off and looked down and went, ‘Oh, shoot.’ Everyone started freaking out. I threw a towel on it and I walked out.”

There’s a difference between being hurt and being injured. You can’t play if you’re injured. But if any of those guys are hurt, they need to follow Ash’s example and get on the field Saturday.

“It shows a lot of toughness,” junior guard Trey Hopkins said. “We have a lot of guys banged up. Just the fact that he was out there with us [Sunday], shows how he’s continuing to be a leader on the team. I think that really shows how he’s stepped up as a person. That’s what we really need with so many guys banged up. We need everyone to know that you can still play through it.”

Without knowing the intricate details of his teammates’ injuries, here’s to hoping Ash playing through pain this weekend sets a precedent that can help turn this season around. Texas’ defense has sorely missed Hicks since he went down a month ago. Hawkins and Moore, both junior college transfers, have provided a valuable presence at the line of scrimmage. And, while freshman Johnathan Gray has impressed in his first few games as a Longhorn, Malcolm Brown is Texas’ best option at tailback.

“I try not to listen to the injury repot on Sunday after a loss because it’s long,” Mack Brown said. “Maybe it’s partly because we have a younger team. You may get banged up more when you’re younger than you do when you’re older. You also have more guys hurt after a loss than you do a win. They’re down. They’re tired. They’re frustrated and mad, so there’s more guys in the training room.”

Like Ash, the Longhorns need those guys on the field.

Printed on Thursday, October 18, 2012 as: Hurt Horns should follow Ash's lead