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‘Lucky’ Rory McIlroy won’t stop playing football

Rory McIlroy won’t give up football for jigsaw puzzles, no matter how much you frown on his risky off-course activities.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The CSI: Whistling Straits episode starring Rory McIlroy’s ankle officially jumped the shark Wednesday when commentator John Feinstein compared the injury that the world No. 1 recently suffered to his own accident decades ago.

"I had almost the exact same injury in college because I fell down a flight of steps -- sober," Feinstein, 59, said on the Golf Channel after McIlroy answered several questions about the ligament he blew in a friendly soccer match with pals on July 4.

Um, okay, but back to Rory, who shed additional light on the game’s most overly scrutinized body part since Tiger Woods went under the knife for a microdiscectomy in 2014. Turns out the four-time major winner believed he had broken his left ankle when he rolled it.

"As soon as I went over on it I heard like a snap," McIlroy said during a press conference on the eve of the PGA Championship.

Seconds after rupturing one of his ligaments and severely injuring another, the ankle blew up to the size of a tennis ball. Hours of rehab followed and five weeks later McIlroy, seemingly miraculously, was back at work inside the ropes and the media center.

"It could have been worse," said McIlroy, who counted himself "lucky" that his leisure activity did not do more damage than it did.

In fact, McIlroy took his weakened wheel out for a test drive last week when he walked and played 72 holes in Portugal. He aced his "closed doors" exam and graduated to the final major on the men’s 2015 schedule.

"Four days in a row, 72 holes, playing with no pain, no swelling, no anything like that," he said. "Then we knew that, okay, you're ready to go."

Despite his good fortune that he just his right ankle in a 2013 kickabout and his left, which bears his weight on the powerful follow-through of his swing, last month, don’t expect the 26-year-old from Northern Ireland to give up his favorite recreation for more sedentary activities like jigsaw puzzles.

"I might take some precautionary measures next time … maybe wear ankle braces," McIlroy conceded, noting that such incidents can occur by falling off a curb. "But apart from that, I'm not going to stop doing what I do. I enjoy that part of my life, I enjoy having that normality in my life, something that I've done since I was a kid and I won't stop doing that, no."

McIlroy will put his ankle to the real test Thursday at 1:20 p.m. local time when he begins his title defense on the first hole with reigning Masters and U.S. Open winner Jordan Spieth and British Open champion Zach Johnson.

In the game-within-the-game, second-ranked Spieth would become the first golfer to earn the so-called "American Slam" with a win on Sunday. There are also a handful of scenarios that would enable Spieth to leapfrog McIlroy for the top spot in the world rankings, so game on.