Now onto the headlines of the weekend:
Brett Favre: He's already taking injections in his wounded ankle.
After his so-so eight series Saturday night on the hard floor of Mall of America Field (I prefer to call it the Metrodome, because that's what we know it to be), Favre went into the trainers' room in the Vikes' locker room and got an injection of lubricant in the left ankle that has three times been operated on to remove loose bodies. "Like a grease fitting,'' he said.
Noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews did the most recent surgery May 22, with an interested party in the operating theater: Deanna Favre. "They took out a cup full of stuff -- bone and all these other loose bodies,'' Brett Favre said Saturday night. "Deanna watched and told me, 'If you don't feel a lot better, I'll be shocked.''
Favre feels better, but not really that good. He explained the arthroscopic procedure that happened in May and what's happened since. He said Dr. Andrews made two incisions on the top of his left ankle, where the ankle flexes above the foot, and sucked out the loose bodies. He said Dr. Andrews wasn't surprised a significant spur returned when Favre went for a re-exam a month ago -- but he was surprised it happened so fast. The Vikings will attempt to manage the pain the spur brings on, but Favre said he didn't think he'd take any painkillers stronger than Motrin.
"It's catching up with me, all this stuff,'' said Favre, who turns 41 in October.
"I asked you this a year ago -- Do you think you can last the season?''' I said to Favre. "And you said you didn't know. How about now?''
"I don't know. I have no idea, really," he answered. "My ankle just seems to get easier to sprain. I know everyone thinks the New Orleans game [the NFC Championship Game] killed me, but it was bad before then. Now we'll see if I can make it. My mind's telling me one thing, but my body's telling me something else.''
I've said this all along: This ankle thing's a little different that the weariness he felt a year ago. There could come a time where his mobility is so compromised that Favre won't be able to get out of the way of the rush consistently. It wouldn't surprise me if the ankle knocked him out for a few games this year.
Katrina at Age 5: Maybe Mickey Loomis should be executive of the decade.
I'm exaggerating a bit there. The Saints certainly weren't the dominant force of Indianapolis or New England in the past 10 years. Not even close. But if the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Yankees in the World Series next year, wouldn't you give them three times the credit of any other team for winning such a series?
On the five-year anniversary of Katrina, I reminisced about something I really think helped revitalize such an important city. I was in New Orleans for the first draft after the hurricane, in April 2006, and I interviewed mayor Ray Nagin about the meaning of the Saints to the city. In almost a pleading voice, he said if the Saints could just give the beleaguered city one year, or maybe two, just a little time to get back on its feet, that would be a godsend. That's how sure everyone in the city was that the Saints were leaving. Now, exactly five years after Katrina, the Saints are not leaving New Orleans. They've signed a lucrative extension to stay through 2025. Fans fly in from around the country to see home games. The team is a happening.
I hope, in the eyes of the city and country, people realize why. So much of it occurred as a direct result of the significant home runs Loomis hit. At the end of the 2005 season, Loomis and the front office, orphans because of Katrina, were working in the Sewage and Water Building in San Antonio. They'd been evicted from the Alamodome, and the team was practicing in a parking lot for the last two weeks of the season because of a Home and Garden show and then a state volleyball tournament in the Dome. I remember going there. What a circus. When the season ended, in an office regulating underwater pipes in San Antonio, Loomis plotted the future of the football team. In the next four months, here's what he did:
Jan. 2, 2006: Loomis, given the leeway to do so by owner Tom Benson, fires head coach Jim Haslett.
Jan. 18, 2006: Loomis, given by the same leeway by Benson, hires Sean Payton as head coach.
March 14, 2006: Loomis signs quarterback Drew Brees to a six-year, $60 million deal.
April 29, 2006: Loomis drafts USC running back Reggie Bush in the first round, all-pro guard Jahri Evans in the fourth, and Pro Bowl wide receiver Marques Colston in the seventh.
I have a particular affection for New Orleans, having worked for Habitat for Humanity a couple of times there over the years and loving every trip I've ever taken there. A lot of people have contributed to the recovery of the city, and the Saints have been vital. I am in no way attempting to ascribe too much importance to sports. But whatever the Saints have accomplished, Loomis is at the core.