Rank 'Em: Playing Through Injuries

Created: June 16, 2008, 12:44 PM

Where does SportsNation rank Woods' performance?

Two months after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, Tiger Woods returned to golf and won the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

This was by no means a typical major win for Woods. First, he had to battle back from a four-stroke deficit after the first round of play. He then had to sink a 12-foot birdie to force an 18-hole playoff. Eighteen holes, however, were not enough to determine a champion, as Tiger had to keep battling Rocco Mediate in sudden death before he could claim his third U.S. Open title.

But the story did not end there. In the epilogue, one day after winning the U.S. Open, it was revealed that Woods would undergo season-ending knee surgery to repair a torn ACL and fractures in his leg.

With this new information out, where does Woods' performance rank now?

  • October 15, 1988:
    In the bottom of the ninth, in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Kirk Gibson limped to the plate and hit the game-winning home run, despite playing with an injured hamstring and knee. The Dodgers went on to beat the favored A's in five games.
  • June 11, 1997:
    Despite suffering with the flu, Michael Jordan scored 38 points, including a critical 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter, to lead the Bulls to a Game 5 victory over the Jazz in the NBA Finals. Chicago wrapped up the title in Game 6.
  • February 5, 2005:
    After fracturing his tibula against the Dallas Cowboys late in the regular season the Eagles' Terrell Owens managed to take the field against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. Owens went on to catch nine passes for 122 yards, but the Eagles lost the game 24-21.
  • May 8, 1970:
    Despite a knee injury, Willis Reed limped onto the Madison Square Garden floor right before the start of Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Reed scored the first two baskets of the game, and the inspired Knicks won their first NBA title.
  • September 4, 1996:
    Despite suffering from the flu, which left him severely dehydrated, Pete Sampras willed himself to victory against Alex Corretja in the quaterfinals of the U.S. Open, in a match that lasted more than four hours. Sampras went on to win his fourth U.S. Open title.
  • January 2, 1994:
    With the NFC East title on the line against the New York Giants, Emmitt Smith overcame a separated shoulder to lead Dallas to a 16-13 overtime win at the Medowlands in the final week of the regular season.
  • After injuring her ankle on her first vault attempt, Kerri Strug nailed a one-footed landing on her second attempt, ensuring the U.S. the 1996 Olympic gold medal in the team competition.
  • June 13-16, 2008:
    Playing on a bad knee, Tiger Woods came back from a four-shot deficit in the first round of the U.S. Open, forced an 18-hole playoff and then won the Open in sudden death. One day later, it was announced that Woods would undergo season-ending knee surgery.
  • 1979-80 NFL Playoffs:
    Youngblood's tibia was fractured in the Rams' division playoff game against the Cowboys. Youngblood stayed in the game and the Rams beat the Cowboys. Youngblood continued to play on the bad leg as the Rams made it all the way to the Super Bowl.
  • 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs:
    In one of the gutsiest performances in NHL playoff history, Steve Yzerman scored 23 points in 23 games and led Detroit to a Stanley Cup title, despite playing with a badly injured knee that required reconstructive surgery in the offseason.