49ers left tackle Trent Williams injured his ankle in the divisional round win at Green Bay. Despite having a Grade 2 high ankle sprain, he suited up and played the following weekend against the Rams, in the NFC Championship.
Recently, Williams said he shouldn’t have.
“I really had no business out there,” Williams told reporters, via Taylor Wirth of NBC Sports Bay Area. “It’s so hard for me not to be out there, knowing the position we were in and what we were trying to accomplish. But looking back on it, I probably shouldn’t have pushed it that far. I think [Colton McKivitz] would have did a better job on two healthy ankles than I could have did on one.”
Williams still knows that it’s one thing to admit it now — and quite another to acknowledge it when the game is approaching.
“Hindsight is 20/20, of course,” Williams said. “But it was hard for me to tell my teammates no at the time, but looking back on it, I think I probably pushed it a little too far.”
At some point, it’s on the team to recognize that the player shouldn’t play. However, even if the player later agrees, he may strenuously object in the moment. It becomes very difficult for the team to tell one of its best players not to play. Especially since the example set by his effort to play surely inspired others on the team to dig as deep as he was to perform at the highest possible level.