"The radial nerve is gone. They say there's no sense fooling with it. So they're going to tie over three tendons to the top of my hand on each side and I'll have to adjust to using different nerves, but I'll be able to use the hand almost normally. The way it is now...."
He removes the elastics from the brace and the hand flops down at the wrist.
"When they move the tendons I'll have to think differently before I use it."
"Think left, go right, eh?"
"Something like that."
"Well, that's not so bad," says Ellender. "We've got seven or eight coaches doing that right now."
"They won't fool with the arm at all. When the gooks finally fixed it they cut some bone away at the broken ends, screwed it together with a steel plate and another piece of bone from my hip, and wrapped it with wire. It's about two inches shorter than the right arm, but it's all right. I can use it. Might help my golf." He stretches his arms out and grips an imaginary club. "Perfect for a hook," he says.
"And I think I'll be able to fly."
At practice that afternoon, watching with Boo Mason, the major is once more astounded by the enthusiasm of the Tulane team.
He is watching a one-on-one drill at the north end of the Sugar Bowl. The Poly-Turf trembles with the force of the blows. Each one is accompanied by bellows of joyful rage from the participants, and encouraging slaps and shouts from the coaches.