Jake Waters finished his Kansas State football career by playing hurt in seven straight games.
Anyone who watched the Wildcats this season could see that. Waters, a senior quarterback, was a different player after he took an awkward hit midway through the year against Oklahoma and injured his right shoulder. He ran less and threw fewer deep balls.
Still, he put up good stats (3,501 passing yards, 484 rushing yards and 31 total touchdowns) and helped K-State win nine games and play in the Alamo Bowl. Teammates went so far as to say he was healthy at the end of the season.
What you couldn’t see was how (badly) hurt he actually was. On Thursday, Waters posted a photo to his Twitter account that showed him recovering from shoulder surgery.
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Waters wrote: “Surgery went well. Thanks for all the prayers and support. God bless.”
That means Waters injured his throwing shoulder so badly against Oklahoma that he needed surgery, but decided to hold off on an operation for nearly three months so he could play in K-State’s final seven games. That will put him in the same toughness category as former Bill Snyder quarterbacks Collin Klein and Grant Gregory, who had several injury stories to tell at the end of their college careers.
Those close to Waters said the quarterback was in considerable pain following the Oklahoma game, struggling at times to simply raise his right arm. But whenever reporters asked Waters or Snyder about the injury, they both downplayed it. Waters regularly said “I’m good.” Snyder, at one point, said the media were making too big an issue about it.
Waters did not let the injury keep him down. He threw for a career-high 400 yards against West Virginia and set a program record for both passing yards and total yards in a season.
Turns out, he did so with a throwing shoulder that required surgery.