Favre is faced with a pain and an injury that he has never felt before, one more usually associated with a driver in a car crash.
Brett Favre's streak in jeopardy
Brett Favre has become something of a medical expert over the years, a quarterback who has minored in pain management as he has put together a streak of consecutive starts that stands among the most impressive records in all of sports.
Yet even a 41-year-old who has played 20 seasons in the NFL still can learn something new, and Favre is now faced with a pain and an injury that he has never felt before, one more usually associated with a driver in a car crash.
Favre sprained the sternoclavicular (SC) joint in his throwing shoulder when he was crunched by Arthur Moats, the Buffalo Bills linebacker, on Sunday, an injury that leaves the Minnesota Vikings quarterback unsure of whether he will be able to start his 298th consecutive regular season game, at home to the New York Giants.
"If we were talking ankles or elbows, thumbs or something like that, I would probably be a little more up to date on how to deal with it," Favre said after the Vikings beat the Bills, 38-14.
"First time in 20 years I have ever done anything like that, so it is kind of surprising."
The SC joint is located where the collarbone meets the breastbone. According to Harvard Health Publications, SC joint sprains occur most often "when a driver's chest strikes the steering wheel during an auto accident, or when a person is crushed by an object".
For Favre, it was the latter case.
On the third play of the game on Sunday, Moats came flying off the right edge and blindsided Favre just as he was about to throw a pass. The 250-pound linebacker flattened Favre, landing on top of him.
The pass fluttered and was intercepted by Drayton Florence, and Favre was slow to get up. He staggered to the sidelines and was replaced by Tarvaris Jackson.
"He took a pretty good lick in the back as he was coming back and getting ready to throw the ball," said Adrian Peterson, the running back who picked up the slack with 107 yards and three touchdowns.
Favre headed to the locker room for an X-ray, which revealed no broken bones and returned to the sideline later in the second quarter.
Favre said there was no way he could have been effective if he had to go back in the game. "I stayed dressed because [the third-string QB] Joe Webb had pulled his hamstring," Favre said. "So in case I had to go in I could hand it off, at least with my left hand. I couldn't throw. I tried to on the sidelines."
Jackson filled in well, throwing for 187 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions to help the Vikings (5-7) to their second win in a row.
Leslie Frazier, the interim coach, said Favre will remain the starter if he is healthy enough to play, and Favre's reputation as the NFL's ultimate iron man will be his enduring legacy, more than all the records he owns and the Super Bowl he won with Green Bay.
It has been a difficult year for Favre, who has struggled with a sore shoulder, tendinitis in his elbow, two broken bones in his ankle and 10 stitches in his chin from a hit against the Patriots earlier this year.
Through it all, Favre has made it clear he wants to continue if he is physically able. "For me, I have always been willing," he said. "I just enjoy playing. ... I would love to finish this out, this whole year."