Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Taking Great Pains to Run

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Taking Great Pains to Run

Article excerpt

Ahmad Bradshaw tried to hide behind his smile, a thin disguise attempting to conceal the pain he's had to tolerate.

He tried to deny that discomfort, claiming he felt "great" despite the stress fracture in his right foot.

But before long he dropped the charade, knowing too many of his Giants teammates have witnessed the toll it has taken.

"He never lets you know, man. He's always the same Ahmad, running around and playing around in the locker room," Victor Cruz said. "You never really know how much pain he's really in unless you see him in the training room or early in the morning.

"When he comes in, he goes right for that training room, and all the guys come in and start working on him immediately. So he's definitely in pain."

Bradshaw has endured it since returning from the stress fracture he suffered Oct. 30 in the victory over the Dolphins.

He helped the Giants earn a trip to Sunday's Super Bowl XLVI, running for 74 yards on 20 carries in the NFC Championship victory over the 49ers -- both highs since the injury. Eighteen of those yards came on three carries in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal in a 20-17 win.

And Bradshaw did it despite the pain he can't seem to escape.

"I pray for it every day," he said. "Being a running back in this league, I don't think I'll ever be that healthy again."

But Bradshaw, 25, goes out there anyway, playing as physical as ever. He rushed for 219 of his 659 yards on a foot that never had a chance to completely heal.

"He just runs like his feet are on fire. His legs are like pistons," said former Giants center Shaun O'Hara. "Because he's not a very tall guy, not a very big guy, they don't realize how strong he is.

"He's a fun guy to block for."

When he can run.

Bradshaw had three surgeries after the 2009 season to insert screws into his feet after suffering stress fractures, and to alleviate ankle issues. …

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