Christian Ponder said loss of flexibility in arm is main reason he sat
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder had a wrap on his injured right arm and a large bruise to go with it as he dressed in the Minnesota Vikings locker room late Saturday night after a 24-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers eliminated his team from the NFL playoffs.
Ponder, who was listed on the Vikings' injury report as having an issue with the elbow on his throwing arm, actually said he had suffered a deep bruise in his triceps and that the elbow was fine.
Ponder, who was injured when he took a hit from Packers safety Morgan Burnett late in the second quarter last Sunday at the Metrodome, came out hours before Saturday's game and attempted 10 throws. He had no zip on the ball, returned to the locker room and then was inactive for the game.
Joe Webb got the start in Ponder's place.
Afterward, Ponder answered several questions about the decision to have him sit out after making 16 starts in the regular season.
Q. How close did you come to playing in this game?
A. "Close. I went out in the pregame and threw around a little bit. Just made the decision that we'd probably be better off playing Joe with how limited I would be."
Q. What's wrong with your arm exactly?
A. "It's just a deep contusion in the triceps and basically like a deep thigh bruise but in my throwing arm. A little bit of pain but I can play with pain. The biggest thing is the lost flexibility. I couldn't get the ball in the position to where I could throw it normally and lost a lot of power and everything. It just wouldn't have been wise to play."
Q. Did it get worse as the week went on?
A. "No, it didn't get worse. It got better. Day by day it kept getting better and we were optimistic that hopefully by game time it would be OK. We were glad for the late game-time tonight. .... I just never got the flexibility that I needed."
Q. Was the issue velocity?
A. "Velocity was one. The biggest thing was I just couldn't get (the arm) in the right position to throw the ball. I couldn't get the ball all the way up to my chest in a loaded position."
Q. How tough was it to sit out after working so hard to get to the playoffs?
A. "It was tough. Obviously, the whole team has been through a lot and for us to get our first playoff experience and everything it was tough. But we've just got to look forward to next year and hopefully we're going to have more opportunities to do it. I've just got to work my butt off to get back here."
Q. So was it the triceps and not the elbow?
A. It was the triceps.
Q. Your elbow was fine?
A. "Yeah, it was fine."
Q. Did you lobby Leslie Frazier to let you play?
A. "I think it was just clear it wasn't going to work. Obviously I really wanted to play but just consulting with (Vikings athletic trainer) Eric Sugarman, our training staff and some of the doctors. Just said it was probably wise to get ready and let it rest and hopefully be ready for Atlanta next week."
Q. Those 10 throws in pregame, which were lobs, were those the extent of how hard you could throw the football?
Q. That was just soft toss right?
A. "That was basically it."
Q. If you had played it would have been lobbing the football?
Q. Did you have a crash course with Joe Webb to help him and what was that process like in the couple of hours between warm-ups and the time you guys took the field?
A. "I think his expectation was to play the whole time. He got most of the reps during the week. He was prepared and ready to go. Obviously, he got the final nod before the game. He was ready to go. I was trying to be there for him the whole game and be his eyes. We got stuck in a tough position."
Q. Is the final decision on you playing taken out of your hands and left up to the doctors?
A. "Yeah, I think it was a cumulative decision. I think everyone kind of decided that with how limited I was that it was definitely better for Joe to be out there."
Q. You didn't seem overly concerned when we saw you on Tuesday?
A. "We were optimistic that hopefully it was going to be better by the time game-time came around. I've had like a deep thigh bruise before and played the next week. This one didn't respond as well."
Q. So on the second-quarter play last Sunday in which you were injured when Packers safety Morgan Burnett hit you, what happened exactly?
A. "As I was releasing the ball, his helmet hit me right under the arm. It bothered me throughout the game but I think the adrenaline helped me through it. That last drive it definitely bothered me. I didn't have as much velocity on that throw to (Michael) Jenkins, on that third-down throw. But after the game, it definitely swelled up and then the bruising started showing up a couple of days later."
Q. How many reps did you take in practice this week?
A. "I took several. I didn't really throw the ball. They were all handoffs. I tried throwing two days ago, threw a little bit, yesterday I threw some more and then tried throwing today. Just didn't get to where I wanted to be."
Q. When did you know you weren't able to play?
A. "The decision wasn't made until right before game time. I think we were pretty optimistic the whole week that I'd be ready to go. The arm never got to the point where it was good enough to be out there."
Q. When you woke up this morning did you know that maybe you were in trouble?
A. "Yeah, it was a little better this morning but not as a great as we wanted (it to be). Did a lot of treatment today, a lot of treatment last night as well. We were hoping. I threw in the hotel in the pool today, too, and figured that maybe we could loosen it up and give it one more shot once we got out to pregame. It just wasn't good enough."