Franklin has proven toughness before

If you didn't hear, Missouri won a close one Saturday night.

Despite nearly blowing a 24-7 lead over Arizona State, the Tigers were able to keep it together long enough to pull out a narrow victory in a game that should have had an even bigger win margin for Mizzou.

But no one seems to care about that. All the talk coming from Saturday's game has revolved around the fact that Mizzou quarterback James Franklin opted not to take a painkilling cortisone shot prior to Saturday's game because of the intense pain he felt in his right shoulder. You know, the same shoulder he injured this spring and needed surgery for. The same shoulder that was re-injured when Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones hit it during a pass attempt last week.

Franklin's refusal to take the shot has sparked some debate about his toughness, and it started when coach Gary Pinkel informed everyone that Franklin didn't play because of his decision not to take said shot.

"It was too painful for him, and he didn’t want to play," Pinkel said after the win.

Pinkel said after Mizzou's win that he wasn't questioning his quarterback's toughness, but it was too late when he uttered those words about the shot. People had made up their minds and now a cloud of controversy hangs over Franklin and the quarterback position. Wide receiver T.J. Moe added to the drama by calling Corbin Berkstresser, who filled in for Franklin, "tough" when asked about the redshirt freshman following his first career start.

Now, whether that's a bit of a dig at Franklin for not playing is unknown and it could have just been a general compliment, but it certainly didn't help the situation.

The truth is that Franklin didn't want to take the shot because he and his family don't believe in taking medication to cure ailments. Say what you will about it, but that's their decision and it should be respected. It had an affect on Saturday's football game, but Franklin shouldn't be faulted for not taking an injection that he doesn't believe in.

Plus, cortisone only numbs the pain, it doesn't cure the injury. Franklin could have done more damage by playing.

Instead, he's supposedly done more damage to his image, which makes no sense, considering the fact that he played all last season with nine nagging injuries. From a swollen knee to broken fingers, Franklin never really felt healthy in 2011.

Did that stop him from having a breakout year? Absolutely not, as he passed for 2,865 yards, ran for another 981 and had 36 total touchdowns during his sophomore season.

That's pretty tough to do.

The ugly reality for Franklin is that the shoulder injury he suffered diving for a ball this spring will likely linger through the fall. The more hits he takes, the worse it will get. He'll just have to battle through it and increase his tolerance for pain.

Saturday, the pain was too much. It happens. To call him soft or question his toughness is absurd. He's proven time after time that he'll play nicked up when he can.

If last season wasn't enough proof, then I don't know what is.