Spokane Shock quarterback Erik Meyer didn’t care for the initial diagnosis when he suffered a broken collarbone against the L.A. Kiss on May 4.
“What they told me down there was 8-12 weeks,” Meyer said. “I told them, ‘No way. I’m going to be back sooner than that.’”
Meyer returned in the fourth quarter against San Jose last Saturday after missing five games, prompting some concern that he was coming back too soon. As luck would have it, Meyer was blasted by San Jose’s Francis Maka on his first series but he quickly got back on his feet.
“We talked throughout the week,” Meyer said. “We planned on not playing but if the moment was right, the time was right, we were going to do it.”
Olson wasn’t pleased with the offense after two straight sloppy possessions left Spokane trailing 44-24.
“I just looked over and said, ‘Are you ready?’ He said, ‘Yes,’” Olson said. “I think it was good for him to get out there and take some hits and know he can do it instead of thinking about it this Friday (against San Antonio).”
“Even though it kind of hurt after the game, it felt good to get hit and pop up and show I was ready to play,” said Meyer, who had two touchdown passes in three series.
Collarbone injuries are tricky for quarterbacks because there can be an increased risk of re-injury. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers missed seven games in 2013 with a broken left collarbone that didn’t require surgery. He returned to practice in a limited capacity 22 days after the initial injury. He told reporters he did everything he could as far as conditioning and game preparation but he simply had to wait for the bone to heal.
Dallas’ Tony Romo missed the last 10 games of the 2010 season with a broken left collarbone. His recovery was longer than Rodgers’ because he suffered a displaced fracture. Romo didn’t return, in part, because Dallas wasn’t in playoff contention.
Meyer credited his medical team.
“Great surgery, Julie (Woolf, team trainer) did a great job and great therapy at PT Associates,” Meyer said. “They took care of me very well.”
Asked how he plans to stay healthy, Meyer said, “Just try to get rid of the ball quicker.”
Meyer’s return had an immediate impact as Spokane rallied against the SaberCats. There was a noticeable competitive edge at Wednesday’s practice.
“He’s a leader, he’s vocal, he’s in your face,” defensive lineman Terrance Taylor said. “He likes to have fun, dance, talk, that’s what we need. That’s what the Spokane Shock is. We go out there and win games and we have fun doing it.”
Still, Meyer’s presence alone won’t cure all that ails Spokane, which has lost five of its last six. The offensive woes went beyond quarterback play. San Jose had eight quarterback sacks. Spokane has struggled with dropped passes, turnovers, penalties and converting in the red zone.
“Getting Erik back isn’t everything but I tell you what it’s a huge part,” offensive lineman Patrick Afif said. “He’s our leader and he runs the team really well. When everything is working on the same page it makes it a lot easier.
“My fiancée kept saying it wasn’t a bad game (against San Jose) but it was bad for me and the line in general. It’s just a team gelling. We’ve kind of lost that. We’ve had so many pieces being put in and pulled out we just haven’t been together as a group.”
Olson noted the offense is starting two rookie receivers and three rookie linemen but he’s seeing incremental progress week to week.
“It’s just trying to get in that rhythm,” Meyer said. “It’s going to take a little time but once we start clicking we’re going to be a very dangerous offense.”