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"A big ol' dumb nigger."
Boobie moved off the line against the Palo Duro Dons, and he was all pulsating motion: legs thrust high, hips swiveling, arms pumping, shoulder pads clapping wildly up and down. He went for 15 yards, and though it was only a preseason scrimmage in the August twilight in Lubbock, he wanted more; he always wanted more when he had the ball.
Near the sideline he planted his left leg to stiff-arm a tackier. It was a routine move, but the leg got caught in the artificial turf and then someone fell on it from the side. When Boobie got up he was limping and could barely put any pressure on the leg.
The Permian team doctor, Weldon Butler, ran his fingers up and down the leg, feeling for broken bones. Then he moved to the knee. Boobie watched the trail of those fingers, his eyes ablaze and his mouth slightly open. With the tiny voice of a child, he asked Butler how serious it was, how long he would be out.
Butler just kept staring at the knee.
"You might be out six, eight weeks," Butler said quietly.
Boobie jolted upright, wincing as if from a shock.
"Oh, ——, man!"
"We don't know until we X-ray it," said Butler. "It may be worse if you don't stop moving that leg."
"You can't be serious, man! You got to be full of——, man!"