Earlier this week, New Orleans Saints coach Dennis Allen said defensive end Marcus Davenport was not on the field because he was rehabilitating a shoulder and finger. While that was accurate, it didn’t really tell the whole tale.
Davenport told the rest of the story when he flashed his bandaged left hand in the locker room after Wednesday’s minicamp practice, showing off the pinkie finger that was partially amputated this offseason.
“Everything has kind of taken a pause at this,” said Davenport, gesturing toward his hand.
This was an old injury that had required multiple surgeries, but at some point this offseason Davenport learned he’d developed an infection after he broke a plate that had been inserted into his finger after an injury during his college days. The upper half of his finger was removed.
Davenport said the original injury occurred during the New Mexico Bowl at the end of his 2016 junior season.
“I tore some ligaments, and from there it kind of progressed down,” he said.
It had gotten to the point that he could not fully flex the finger, which was in sort of a perpetual bent state. He ultimately had four surgeries performed on the digit, including some this offseason, before finally deciding to have it partially amputated.
Since the injury initially occurred in college, and he has not had full use of the finger, he doesn’t anticipate its partial loss will affect his play on the field — though he has had some interesting conversations with his two young children about it.
“They haven’t really seen it yet,” Davenport said. “If anything, they’re both, ‘Bo-bo?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, daddy has a bo-bo. Come here. It’s OK, though.’ I don’t have to tell them cool stories.”
And no, there’s no temptation for Davenport to come up with a sexier version of why he had to lose the finger, though he did take a spin through a couple of possibilities.
“If anything, I bit it off,” Davenport said. “Oh, wait, I got in a fight with a shark.”
The finger was not the only thing Davenport has had to deal with this offseason, as he also had surgery on his right shoulder. He’s hopeful to be back in time for training camp, though he understands everything is based on how his still-bandaged hand recovers.
Injuries have plagued Davenport throughout his NFL career, as he’s missed at least three games in each of his first four NFL seasons with a variety of ailments.
He played in just 11 games last season because of his shoulder injury, but when he was on the field he played the best football of his career, racking up a career-best nine sacks and three forced fumbles.
The Saints exercised their fifth-year option on Davenport, meaning the 2022 season is a crucial one for the young defensive lineman. The ability has never been a question for Davenport, but his availability has been. If he manages to get and stay healthy, he could turn this season into a lucrative contract.
At the moment, Davenport doesn’t seem to be worrying himself with such thoughts. An avid reader, he’s currently working his way through Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations.” Next month, he and his partner are expecting their third child — and first daughter.
He’s keeping everything in perspective.
“Shoot, after all this, I’m just happy to be alive,” Davenport said.