Clemson’s game against Georgia Tech on Saturday night got off on the wrong foot for Tanner Muse, when the starting safety suffered a hand injury right off the bat.
On the second play of Clemson’s eventual 24-10 win, Muse broke a bone in his left hand while attempting to fight off a cut block. However, after getting checked out and undergoing X-rays, the redshirt sophomore returned to action in the second half with a large orange cast on the hand.
“I didn’t really think much of it,” Muse said of his initial reaction to the injury. “I thought I pulled it or strained it or something like that, so I just went back to the sideline and tried to put my glove back on because I took it off after. So I took it off, went back to the sideline and kind of hung out, and I guess that’s when my adrenaline went down. I was like well, maybe I should get this taped up, and Danny (Poole) came over and checked it out. He started twisting on me, and I didn’t give him the right signs. Then I went to the locker room, got it X-rayed, it was broke, got it wrapped it up and I went back out.”
Muse could have sat out the rest of the game, and no one would have blamed him for nursing the injury.
But Muse knows pain is part of the game, and he wasn’t going to let the injury cost him the game. He says it won’t keep him sidelined moving forward, either.
“I just felt like you only get one go at this college football, so might as well,” he said. “If you can withstand the pain, then it’s worth playing in. So that’s how I see it. I’m going to finish this season out, and I’m just ready to go.”
Saturday wasn’t the first time that Muse played hurt. The Belmont, N.C., native tore the labrum in his left shoulder as a freshman at South Point High, later tore the labrum in his right shoulder as a senior, and played through the injuries both seasons.
One of the differences is he’s wearing the cast to support his hand injury now, as opposed to Sully shoulder braces back then.
“It stinks, having to deal with that (the cast) all the time,” Muse said. “But besides that, it’s been fine.”
It’s reasonable to assume that the cast will affect Muse’s ball skills in pass defense until the hand heals, though he said it wasn’t a problem when he played with it for the first time during practice on Monday.
“Yesterday it was good,” he said. “Pass breakups are key. I got that big ole club on me, so a lot of room to work with. But we’ll see how it goes. It was a good Monday yesterday, and hopefully Tuesday goes the same way. It’s just adaption. That’s all I have to do is adapt to it.”
Despite the circumstances, Muse still enjoyed playing alongside his teammates Saturday and helping the Tigers rebound from their loss to Syracuse with the rainy victory over the Yellow Jackets.
“It was a lot of fun being out there, slipping and sliding and stuff like that,” he said. “We had a lot of fun. Everybody was bringing their own energy. You saw it during the little breaks we had with the music. It was an awesome environment. We had a lot of fans there, which was awesome.
“And just being able to get back to what we’re used to, just being able to win and have fun out there, that’s the main thing. It was a lot of fun.”