Add NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr. to the list of athletes who have relied on adrenaline to play over pain.
Two of the most fabled examples are Willis Reed hobbling out of the locker room to inspire the New York Knicks to victory in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, and leg-weary Kirk Gibson staggering around the bases after poking a pinch-hit, limp-off home run for the Dodgers in the 1988 World Series opener.
Unlike Reed’s and Gibson’s injuries, medical tape couldn’t help what was ailing Truex last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. No, he didn’t win the Sprint Cup Series race, but then again Reed and Gibson weren’t running 200 mph while passing a kidney stone.
Truex, 28, took part in Saturday’s practice session for the next day’s race despite intense pain. As soon as he completed his laps, he was rushed to a hospital and given fluids. He passed the stone late Saturday and was back behind the wheel Sunday.
“It was what it was — I toughed through it,” Truex said. “I did (practice) with (the stone) moving around in there. … I never felt pain like that and never thought you could without dying.”
A day after making the greatest pass of his career, Truex finished 10th in the No. 1 Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
• FORGET WIDE RIGHT — “Wide Right” has been the sarcastic tag placed on the Buffalo Bills since Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field-goal attempt sailed “wide right” with eight seconds to play in Super Bowl XXV and the New York Giants won, 20-19.
“Wide” now will become attached to the Bills’ new receiver, Terrell Owens — as in Mouth Wide Open. He signed with the team last weekend, two days after being released by the Dallas Cowboys.
“I’m leaving America’s team (for) North America’s team,” Owens said during his introductory news conference.
The reference to Buffalo as “North America’s team” refers to the team playing a game in Toronto in December, with another one planned for next season.
Owen’s comment didn’t go over well with many fans in Buffalo.
• BARBI, NOT BARBIE — Only a few days past Barbie’s 50th birthday, it looked as if Mattel was further tarnishing her unblemished reputation.
Could Barbie be guilty of using drugs just a month after Mattel introduced “Totally Stylin’ Tattoos” Barbie?
Instead of only hearing about Barbie’s lifetime ban for use of performance-enhancing drugs, you had to read closely to learn it wasn’t “Barbie” but “Barbi” — Italian runner Roberto Barbi — who was punished Tuesday by the Italian Olympic Committee’s anti-doping court.
• SWITCH POCKETS — Alex Rodriguez had successful hip surgery Monday and will miss six to nine weeks for the New York Yankees. He had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip.
The 33-year-old Rodriguez — baseball’s highest-paid player — is in the second year of a 10-year, $275 million deal.
No report on whether the hip injury was caused by A-Rod not alternating in which pocket he keeps his overloaded billfold.
COMPILED BY JEFF WOLF LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL