ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Phillip Walker tried to downplay the injury, and the Temple senior played his final game flinging the ball all around the field, despite being less than 100 percent.
Sometime in the first quarter of Tuesday's 34-26 loss to Wake Forest in the Military Bowl at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Walker injured the right ring finger on his throwing hand when it hit a player's helmet. He said he thinks it is broken.
"The bone got pushed back into another bone," Walker said.
Throughout his Temple career, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound Walker has played through several injuries - a separated shoulder, an ankle that blew up like a balloon, and there were many other bumps and bruises that he accumulated as a four-year starter. Yet he started 47 consecutive games since earning the starting job midway through his freshman year.
Walker tried to downplay the finger injury after he completed 28 of 49 passes for 396 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in his final game.
Still, there were several throws that sailed high of open receivers. However, Walker kept competing and fighting as his team, once behind by 24 points, got to within five with under four minutes left.
Make no mistake, Walker was extremely uncomfortable.
"I couldn't squeeze my hand at all," he said. "It is what it is. I will get back and start rehabbing."
While Walker tried to downplay the injury, interim head coach Ed Foley said the fact that Walker kept battling showed the type of intense competitor he is.
"Phillip came up to me and showed me that his finger went all the way up into his hand, so I asked him what he did to fix it and he showed me that he just pulled it back into place and threw the next ball," Foley said. "It was never a question in his mind that he wasn't going to play the rest of the game."
Walker is the winningest quarterback in Temple history, with 28 victories. Temple has achieved a single-season record in each of the last two years by going 10-4. That 10-win total has been achieved three times in school history and twice with Walker at the controls.
So he will always be known as a winner and his toughness will always be cited by his coaches and teammates.
"Phillip Walker is one of the toughest players that you will ever see in your life," Foley said.
There are many who will suggest that Walker might not be big enough to play at the next level, but the Temple senior isn't one of them.
"I want play pro football: That is my major goal and that is what I want to do," Walker said. "I am going to make it happen."