AJ McCarron played 6 games with ribs 'popping in and out'

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron was injured for nearly half of the 2012 season.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron had an impressive year in 2012: He won a second straight national title, improved upon his already spectacular chest tattoo and saw his girlfriend -- ahem -- celebrated on national television by broadcaster Brent Musburger. In addition to all that, McCarron played the last six games of the season with injured ribs, according to ESPN SEC blogger Chris Low.

The injured ribs, according to McCarron, kept "popping in and out of place," which doesn't sound too pleasant at all:

"I had three ribs come out of place," McCarron told ESPN.com earlier this week. "They kept popping in and out of place, the one at the top, and it was just a nagging pain the whole time."

McCarron finished the season with 2,933 yards, which ranked sixth in the SEC, and an incredible 30-3 touchdown-interception ratio. All three of his picks came during the stretch in which he was injured, but McCarron still put up impressive numbers over the final six games of the year. He completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,249 yards and 12 touchdowns. The quarterback led Alabama on late game-winning touchdown drives against LSU and in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia, ensuring the Tide would have a shot at a third BCS Championship in four years.

As if injured ribs weren't enough, McCarron suffered a bruised right knee during the Crimson Tide's Oct. 13 game at Missouri. He stayed in the game and completed 16-of-21 passes for 171 yards in a 42-10 win. McCarron might not be everyone's favorite player -- especially fans in the state of Alabama wearing orange and blue -- but it's impossible to deny his toughness.

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