Originally written on Rumors and Rants  |  Last updated 9/26/13

The most memorable injuries in sports history are the ones that occurred off the field. Lions receiver Nate Burleson joined that elite category this week when he broke his arm in a car crash that happened as he reached over to grab a pizza that was falling out of the passenger seat. No word on whether he made the catch, but certainly football is more his life calling than pizza delivery. Detroit’s top target not named Calvin Johnson will be out until November. But where does his injury rank among the all-time greats sustained in an off-field incident? You be the judge. Plaxico Burress: The Giants wideout shot himself in the leg while at a nightclub. But it wasn’t the injury that kept him off the field — it was the insult. Burress had to go to jail for illegally carrying the firearm. This story is hard to top, though technically the injury itself did not cost him any playing time. Glenallen Hill: Glenallen Hill is a BAD mofo, as his home run onto the top of a Wrigley Field rooftop once proved. But even the toughest guys have fears. His is spiders, and they once put him on the DL. Sadly, they weren’t even real ones. While he was playing for the Blue Jays, Hill jumped out of bed while having a nightmare about spiders. In his attempt to get away from said spiders, he fell through a glass table. Joel Zumaya: The Tigers relief pitcher missed three games in the 2006 ALCS due to a wrist injury suffered because he was playing too much Guitar Hero. Chris Hanson: As a symbolic gesture, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio kept an axe and tree stump in Jacksonville’s locker room to encourage his team to “keep chopping the wood.” Perhaps something simpler would have sufficed. Punter Hanson decided one day to literally chop the wood, and ended up getting a piece of his leg instead. He missed six weeks. Clint Barmes: Todd Helton is being feted this week for his role as the greatest Rockie in history, but he once accidentally contributed to wrecking the career of another. Barmes was a promising Rockies rookie in 2005 until he fell down the stairs carrying a package of deer meat given to him by Helton as a gift. He broke his collar bone and missed the rest of the year. Though he is still in the bigs, Barmes has only eclipsed his rookie batting average of .289 one time. Adam Eaton: The Padres pitcher stabbed himself with a knife while opening a DVD in 2001, forcing him to miss a start. The sad thing is no one seems to have bothered finding out what movie it was. Sammy Sosa: In his final season with the Cubs — one which saw the team with a far more loaded lineup than the ’03 edition that finished five outs from a World Series berth — Sosa missed a month when he threw out his back sneezing. Kyle Farnsworth: Sosa’s sneeze wasn’t even the oddest ailment to strike a Cub in 2004. That award goes to Kyle Farnsworth, who went on the DL after kicking a fan. Not a human fan. An electric fan in the runway between the Cubs dugout and the clubhouse. Francisco Rodriguez: K-Rod ended up on the DL after tearing a thumb ligament on his throwing hand after punching his father-in-law. Everyone knows you should punch your father-in-law with your non-throwing hand. Geez. Marty Cordova: The Orioles outfielder had to miss a game after falling asleep in a tanning bed the previous day. Jeff Kent: The Giants second baseman claimed to break his wrist while washing his truck. As it turns out, it actually happened when he was popping wheelies on his motorcycle, which was prohibited in his contract. Amar’e Stoudamire: The Knicks forward punched a glass fire extinguisher case following a playoff loss to the Heat. The extinguisher won.

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