Shades of Orange and Blue: Demaryius Thomas and Kenny McKinley

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 19: Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos makes a touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth quarter of an NFL game at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 19 2010 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Taken by itself, Demaryius Thomas' Achilles injury is not insurmountable.  The general prognostication is pretty simple, the time-line familiar:

  • Six weeks in a cast, no weight on the foot
  • Within 3 months, normal walking
  • An additional 3 months of rehab, before taking the field

One foot in front of the other, step by step, eventually the distance can be covered.  But the achilles injury can't be taken just by itself.  After Kenny McKinley's death, I wrote the following:

If there is a reason why people tremble before the distance that must be traveled, it is because the promiscuity of their imagination demands that it be traveled all at once.  Then it is indeed insurmountable.

We never know what can put the imagination in that terrible place.  We certainly didn't know with Kenny.

This offseason will mark the second in a row that Demaryius Thomas has spent rehabbing from injury, rather than preparing to play, making him two for two in his young career.

In predraft workouts in Georgia, he fractured a bone his foot, and despite spending the predraft process healing and in rehab, the Broncos made him the first WR off the board in April.

Then, in the midst of wowing spectators in training camp with his size and speed, he reinjured the surgically repaired foot.  That bout of healing and rehab lasted into September, and kept him off of the field with his teammates for their season opener.

Throughout the season he sustained a concussion against Baltimore that caused him to miss practice time, bruised a bone in his hip during the KC game, and missed the last third of the season with an ankle injury.  His early career has been defined by injuries and rehab.

Kenny McKinley too struggled with injuries over his short career.  After playing in 8 games and contributing on kick returns, he missed the last half of the season to a knee injury, recovering in time for training camp, only to get reinjured and sent to IR a second time in as many seasons.  There was no doubt that he was going through something tough, but those who knew him thought he was handling it well, with the same smile and enjoyment that he handled everything else.

But you never really know.  Maybe its better not to take a chance.

Demaryius Thomas received an outpouring of support on twitter after posting about his upcoming surgery.  There is no doubt that support like that can help.  We probably all know someone in our life struggling with something difficult.  Regardless of how they seem to be handling it, maybe it is better not to take any chances.  Maybe they could use your words of support.  For Thomas, the most difficult time still lies ahead, after weeks of having to remain patient, to give the wound time to heal, and then agonizing rehab that will challenge his fundamental belief that he can truly get better.  And you never know.  A setback, if it were to occur, wouldn't stand alone, but would add itself mercilessly to a lingering list of hurdles that Thomas has had to confront.

Support can come in many forms.  The choice of the Broncos to move from blue jerseys to orange is a sign of support for their fans, during tough times.  And the choice to go from a deep, dark color to one that is bright is an apt metaphor for the effort.  Like a reminder that the recess within which we lie still faces the rising sun.

Thomas had tweeted earlier about his mother and grandmother, who have been incarcerated since he was 12 on drug related charges.

Only if i had my mother and granny here with me, stuff would be so different.. Miss y'all and love y'allless than a minute ago via web


Let's let DT know that he faces the rising sun.  And lets continue to let him know, as he navigates the course of a painful rehab.  And reach out to anyone else you know who could use a bit of encouragement in tough times, whether they seem like they need it or not.  It may only be 140 characters, or a two minute phone call, or a quick note tossed in a lunchbox before school, but these little lights  are so much more, and demarcate a distance that can't be covered by an infinite amount of footsteps.  They are the landmarks of creation, impossible but nevertheless real, for measuring the breadth and depth of the spaces that exist between us.

Predominantly Orange, or predominantly blue?

You can be the difference.

Tweet Demaryius Thomas @DemaryiusT

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