Have you ever seen the pinkie finger on the right hand of NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger? By the sound of a Tuesday report by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, that’s sort of what the pinkie finger on the right hand of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton currently looks like.
“It looks horrible, but it feels real good,” Wheaton said on Tuesday about the finger he broke during the game in London last season against the Minnesota Vikings. “I’m pretty much out there not even thinking about it.”
If Wheaton does ever think about his messed up finger, he probably knows that it’s likely his own fault that it looks the way it does because of him failing to follow directions during rehab following the surgery to repair it.
“The surgeon did a great job, but the rehab, it was on me. I should have been pushing it a lot more than I was,” Wheaton told the paper. “I got pretty complacent in where I was with my rehab and thinking, “It’s just my pinkie,” and not giving it as much time (to heal) as it needed.”
According to Wheaton, he should have been exercising the repaired finger post surgery instead of keeping it immobilized. That miscommunication wound up resulting in too much scar tissue building up. Another surgery took place after the 2013 season ended, but it appears as though that didn’t help that much.
Hands and fingers are a wide receiver’s tools and you hate to hear that Wheaton has likely already permanently damaged one of his so early in his career.
Prior to him being drafted by the Steelers, Greg Peshek of Second Round Stats reported that in his 2012 tape study of Wheaton that the Oregon State product had a 10.2% drop rate. In addition, it’s worth noting that Wheaton only has 9 1/8 inch hands. Now, one of those hands appears to have a permanently damaged finger attached to it.
Is it too early to have serious concerns about Wheaton moving forward? Probably, but it is worth filing all of this information in an easily accessible part of you memory bank just in case. If reports of excessive drops start to surface over the remainder of the summer, it won’t be hard to understand why that’s happening.
Wheaton, on the other hand (excuse the pun), doesn’t sound too concerned about the finger.
“I can still catch. I can still block,” he said.