Lineman Greg Nosal said he thought he just suffered a bad cut when his hand got jammed into another player's face mask near the end of the second quarter, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported.
Nosal stayed in for the final three plays before halftime then removed his blood-soaked glove on the sideline where the serious nature of his injury became apparent.
As the team's medical staff repeatedly asked where exactly on the field the injury occurred, Nosal says he didn't understand why that really mattered.
"Why do they want to know?" he says he wondered. "Did my finger fall off?"
No, but a half inch of skin and tissue did, which Nosal didn't realize because he was wearing a glove, inside of which the missing piece was found.
The team's surgeon inspected it and determined it could be reattached.
Fine, said Nosal, right after I finish the game. The surgeon agreed.
He played the entire third quarter before being told it was time to get the finger taken care of.
After a successful reattachment, Nosal is expected to have a normal finger in a few months.
Until then, he'll play with his hand protected by padding.