The gory details

Is there a more famous ankle in America these days than Curt Schilling's?

If there is, we can't think of one. Adam Vinatieri's? Freddy Adu's? Natalie Portman's (just because it's connected to the rest of her)? Nope. Sorry.

The most famous ankle in America belongs to a guy who made two trips to the mound in October, with 55 stitches in that ankle, and held the terrifying lineups of the Yankees and Cardinals to a total of eight hits and one earned run in 13 innings.

Schilling was so good in those games, in fact, that he had several skeptics questioning whether his ankle was really in as rough shape as he said it was.

But ESPN.com was able to obtain two photos of the fabled ankle in question, taken on the day of Schilling's Game 2 World Series start. And let's just say you don't need a framed med-school degree to notice this ankle doesn't resemble yours or ours -- not unless you're sitting in an orthopedic waiting room as you're reading this, anyway.

If you look closely at the top photo accompanying this story, you can actually see the stitches, holding together what appears to be a basketball underneath his skin. However, reliable sources have confirmed that's really an ankle in there someplace.

It always amazes us what athletes will do at times to play in the biggest games of their lives. But the more we look at this photo, the more we understand that what Curt Schilling did last month is one of the most amazing sports stories of the 21st century.

Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.