No pinky finger, no problem for Virginia Tech's Greg Nosal
Left guard Greg Nosal received a game ball from the Virginia Tech coaching staff following the Hokies 45-21 win over Central Michigan, and usually that means he's available for postgame interviews. Except Nosal was nowhere to be found Saturday and a Virginia Tech official simply said he was getting stitches for an injured finger.
Turns out at some point during the first half, Nosal lost a half inch of his left pinky finger. According to head athletic trainer Mike Goforth, "the tip of his finger was exposed, leaving just the nail and bone there."
Goforth said the finger had gotten lodged between two helmets during the game and somehow the impact tore off a "fat and fleshy" portion of the pinky finger. Nosal, a junior, actually played at least one more snap before noticing his bloodied glove and came to the sideline to consult with Goforth and Dr. Marc Siegel.
For a time, nobody could seem to locate the missing chunk. Goforth had some of his staff searching the field for it before they finally found it inside Nosal's glove. Goforth said Dr. Siegel soon determined the lost tissue could be re-attached and Nosal went to the locker room ahead of all his teammates just before halftime. Once inside, Dr. Siegel presented Nosal with two options: ice the chunk and keep playing or fix it right away.
Nosal wanted to keep playing so Goforth "took the finger, put it on ice and saved it for when it was ready." He then covered up the rest of Nosal's left hand with gauze and dressing and gave him some pain medicine. The 6-foot-6, 293-pound lineman didn't come out of the game until the fourth quarter when the score was 31-7 in Virginia Tech's favor.
"I have seen things like that from a weight room accident," said Goforth, who has been at Virginia Tech for 10 years. "but I’ve never had someone cover it up and just keep playing."
Nosal then received six stitches on the sideline to put the finger back together once he was removed from the game in the fourth quarter. Goforth said the re-attachment went well, but it will still be a few months before the deformed digit actually looks like a finger again.
The training staff is working on a customized hard cast this week so that Nosal can play Saturday against Wake Forest. We'll get a chance to talk to Nosal after practice this evening, but it's safe to say there was a good reason he got that game ball this weekend.
"You talk about a tough guy," Coach Frank Beamer said Monday. "For him to continue to play, it says a lot about him and his effort for this football team."
| October 11, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
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