I almost fell for it.
In the aftermath of UFC 168, the mixed martial arts (MMA) pay-per-view (PPV) event that took place last Saturday night (Dec. 28, 2013) inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada (results), I was thinking the injury Anderson Silva suffered in his main event title fight against Chris Weidman wasn't that bad (replay).
Then I saw what Corey Hill went through.
Doctors were optimistic that Silva -- who snapped his leg in two places when the "All American" checked his low kick -- could return to fighting in less than a year, thanks to a titanium rod that will stabilize his broken bone and allow him to regain his faculties.
All's well that ends well, right?
Maybe not. Hill suffered a very similar injury when he destroyed his shin against against Dale Hartt at UFC Fight Night 16: "Fight for the Troops" back in 2008 (pic). And while "The Real Deal" was able to return to the cage after a grueling rehab, he's wasn't -- and may never be -- the same fighter he was.
His comments to MMA Fighting:
"I sympathize for what [Silva] is going through, and what he is going to go through. MMA fans aren't the nicest people out there. We dealt with so many people sending us messages via Facebook, cards. Some people were happy. 'That's what you get, man! You broke your leg!' It's like, how cruel can people be? You can't jog for long. When it gets cold, it rains, it's crazy. You always hear old people talking about, 'I know it's going to rain, I can feel it in my joints.' I feel it. It gets too cold man, you can't run. Because that rod, something happens to it, I feel the pressure as I run. I feel that rod going up into one of my bones. So instead of being the old Corey where I just run through it, tell me body to shut up, now I get on the bicycle. The minute [Silva] broke his leg, I remembered ice and elevation and bed sores. You can't move. You're immobile. You pretty much live your life on pain pills as best as possible. It's just an absolute, indescribable feeling. It sounds weird, but until this happened to Anderson, to be honest with you, man, it almost sounds crazy, but I was embarrassed. You get so embarrassed. Everywhere you go, you're the guy who had the broken leg. It's scary sometimes. It doesn't stop everybody I fight from kicking that leg. It doesn't stop everyone from going after it. That's part of what we signed up for. And you know that going into it. You know, the first thing this guy is going to do, he's going to kick your leg."
Silva had emergency surgery after the event and has since returned to his home in Los Angeles.
After his procedure, which is expected to heal in three-to-six months, "The Spider" will have to make sure the soft tissue around the bone has also healed. Then comes the rehabilitative process that is impossible to put a time frame around so early in his recovery.
Hear more from his surgeon, Dr. Steven Sanders, here.
But none of that takes into account the psychological damage Silva endured in what was possibly the biggest fight of his career. The Brazilian is already 38 years old and facing a division of hungry young fighters like Weidman, as well as a handful of old lions like Vitor Belfort.
Medically speaking, there is a very good chance he can return. But should he?
That remains to be seen.