Bill Snyder has had more than his share of sympathy directed in his direction at Kansas State, both by accepting the K-State job months before Sports Illustrated named the Wildcats "America's most hapless team" in 1989, and again when he returned last year to pick up the pieces of his staggering rebuilding job from the double embarrassments of the Ron Prince era and a bizarre financial scandal that rocked the university. Personally, though, I've never felt worse for Snyder than I do this afternoon, when the tight-lipped, 70-year-old coach admitted to tearing both his ACL and MCL when two linemen fell on his knee during a practice earlier this month. That's because any major sideline injury to a head coach necessarily invokes the dual images of Joe Paterno's ghastly broken leg at Wisconsin in 2006 and the blindside hit that felled Charlie Weis in 2008, neither of which should be viewed by anyone:
That's ugly stuff, and potentially the kind of injury, at Snyder's age, that could have lingering effects for the rest of his life. Of course, his first instinct was to walk it off (emphasis added):
"I don't know if you've ever had 600 pounds fall on your knee or not, but that's what I did," Snyder said.
Prizzell Brown, a 265-pound defensive tackle and Ethan Douglas, a 295-pound offensive lineman, wrestled each other into their coach, said quarterback Carson Coffman.
"The youngster that ran into me certainly didn't do it on purpose, and I feel bad because they feel bad," Snyder said.
Snyder said the injury didn't hurt at the time, and he got up after the collision, continuing with practice. After a more thorough examination, Snyder is contemplating surgery.
When he's working, Snyder's world doesn't stop for food or sleep -- this is the man who once tried to be hypnotized into sleeping just an hour a night -- so why should mangled ligaments get any special attention? Surgeons still make office calls, right?