PASADENA, Calif. -- Greg McElroy never had to leave the game. The Alabama junior never had to leave his team in the hands of an untested backup. But it turns out that Texas' Colt McCoy wasn't the only injured quarterback at the Rose Bowl on Thursday night.
"I cracked my ribs in the third quarter against Florida," McElroy said outside the locker room. "Two of them -- the ninth and the 10th. Left side. It's bad. I got it numbed up before the game and it was killing me at halftime."
McElroy did not look like the same quarterback who went 12-for-18 for 239 yards in the SEC championship game victory over the Gators. He completed 6-of-11 passes for 58 yards against the Longhorns and took five sacks. McElroy wore a flak jacket and an extra pad over his left ribcage for protection.
For about a week and half after Florida, I couldn't really throw at all," McElroy said. "As I came back, they started to loosen up a little bit ... It's been pretty painful, pretty consistent for the entire bowl practice."
One of McElroy's good friends, junior H-back Preston Dial, said he held his breath every time that McElroy got hit.
"It's like watching your little brother get hit," Dial said. "You're like, 'Get up! Get up! You're O.K.' He wasn't O.K. I know we've been on the couch playing Nintendo and he's coughed and he about went to his knees."
A spasm midway through his rehabilitation "jarred the bones loose again," McElroy said. "I'm just glad that we got through it and we were able to do it without taking too many significant hits on the ribs. But if I had a torn ACL, I'd play in this game. I would do whatever it took to be on the field. I just had to deal with a lot of pain."
Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com.