It wouldn't have been easy to tell considering the way he played, but Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron played the final six games of the season -- including the national title game -- with injured ribs.
McCarron told ESPN.com he hurt his ribs while being sacked during Alabama's 38-7 win against Mississippi State on Oct. 27.
"I had three ribs come out of place," McCarron said. "They kept popping in and out of place, the one at the top, and it was just a nagging pain the whole time.
"I couldn't throw much during the week for a long time, really almost up to the bowl game. I was hurting really bad through the week, and it just took a long time for those ribs to heal."
Not surprisingly, with the month off between the SEC Championship and BCS Championship game to help the ribs heal, McCarron had his best performance of those final six games against Notre Dame, completing more than 71 percent of his passes and throwing for four touchdowns.
Still, while that one performance was solid, it's not as if McCarron played poorly in the five games before it. In the six games he was dealing with the injury, McCarron threw for 1,249 yards and 12 touchdowns while completing 65 percent of his passes.
In fact, the only blemish on McCarron's performance in those six games was that the only three interceptions he threw all season came during that stretch, with two of them coming in Alabama's 29-24 loss to Texas A&M. One of those was the interception at the goal line late in the fourth quarter.
I believe Alabama fans have forgiven him for that by now, rib injury or not.
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