Alabama Football: How important is Minkah and is he healthy?

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03: Minkah Fitzpatrick
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03: Minkah Fitzpatrick /

There is nothing average about Alabama football player, Minkah Fitzpatrick. He embodies a commitment to excellence preached by Nick Saban.

Football coaches cherish players that 100 percent buy into team goals. Those that combine that commitment with an ability to lead are indispensable. Asking how important Minkah Fitzpatrick is to the 2017 Alabama football team is near pointless. Minkah is irreplaceable. Not just because of his considerable player skills, but also because even Nick Saban acknowledges Minkah is like a ‘coach’ on the field.

For Alabama football fans, too many 2017 game-weeks have involved doubt about Minkah’s health. For weeks it has been his hamstring. Days before the biggest game of his career, rumors abound of another injury. This time it is reported to be a bruised kidney. Rumors have called it even worse.

Will Minkah play Monday?

If the question we posed about Minkah’s importance to the team was stupid (and it was) we should not double it with another stupid question. Minkah will play Monday. If he can run, he will play. Anyone who tries to keep him out of the game will do so at their own peril.

The rumors we mentioned above include no practice this week, a hospital visit for tests, plus an unsubstantiated diagnosis of a lacerated kidney. The tests at a Birmingham hospital rumor also includes an unclear video of someone resembling Minkah getting into a van outside the hospital.

Media sources have published the problem is a bruised kidney. The best source we have seen commenting tweeted this,

Make up your own mind about the aforementioned video.

Until we learn more, we conclude ‘what it is worth’ is nothing.

UPDATE:  Saturday morning in Atlanta, Minkah said, “I have two kidneys and they are both functioning.” He will play Monday night.

Minkah’s resolve was taught by his parents

Stephanie Epstein wrote a superb story and his upbringing in entitled Minkah Fitzpatrick’s Best Isn’t Good Enough for Minkah Fitzpatrick. Give it a full read.

Minkah’s parents know much about hard work and dedication. His Father, a diesel mechanic, and his Mother worked up to three jobs to rebuild their home after Hurricane Irene and to keep Minkah in the private St. Peter’s Prep.

Even before the storm, Minkah’s Dad was focused on teaching his son life lessons. The story describes the family well.

"The parents stressed that you earn your future in this world. Minkah Sr. took his son to the shop where he works 70-hour weeks as a diesel mechanic and volunteered him for the dirtiest, heaviest jobs. “If you don’t want to be here forever,” he would remind the boy, “you better keep those grades up.”"

At St. Peter’s Minkah could not afford the cafeteria meals. He decided to give up football and get a job to help the family. His parents would not let him. They pressed on together, rebuilding their home in the evenings.

Minkah is the Crimson Tide Role Model

What Minkah has done at Alabama is exceptional, and every award has been fully earned. Minkah would say more important than those individual honors is what the team achieves. Damien Harris explained what Minkah means to his teammates.

"“He’s the standard of the program. Teammates refer to Fitzpatrick as “Coach Saban’s son,” because he’s the only person whose performance reliably makes the famously stone-faced coach smile."

No one among the Crimson Tide nation will be smiling if Minkah cannot play Monday night. We expect he will play, overcoming whatever pain is required to help his team achieve its championship goal. He will be on the field striving to do all the small things right and doing his best to make sure his teammates do the same.

Next: Stuff the run and you stuff the Dawgs!

Bama Hammer will closely follow the latest information on Minkah. We will not share every rumor but we will report anything confirmed by a solid source.