Shawn Lauvao, left guard
“Don’t go to the dark side,” Lauvao warned Paul during the 2015 season. It was advice that the left guard needed as well after an ankle injury in Week 3 against the New York Giants ended his season. Lauvao was sidelined for the final 13 regular season games as the Redskins clinched the NFC East division title. It was the first time in his career that his team made the playoffs, and all he could do was watch.
“It’s isolation, honestly, because once you get hurt, man, a lot of it is just you spending time by yourself,” said Lauvao, 29, who is entering his eighth season. “There’s only so much rehab you can do.”
In 2015, he had more surgeries (five) than games played (three). When the players cleaned out their lockers at Redskins Park after the season ended, Lauvao showed up on a scooter, still unable to walk on his own.
The biggest lesson Lauvao learned was that there were two ways he could handle the situation: sulk or push through.
“Do you focus on the problem, or do you focus on solutions?” Lauvao said. “For me, personally, that’s what it was. I think just going through it, you’re either trying to survive or thrive.”
Lauvao said it is common for injured players to become difficult to get along with and disoriented because of how much they put into the game, hoping to receive the same output in return.
“There’s a perception of the game, and there’s the reality,” Lauvao said. “A lot of times for a lot of guys, it’s hard for a lot of them to do self-evaluation — look in the mirror and ask the hard questions.
“The game is not a person,” he said. “It’s just a thing. A lot of guys, they pour a lot into the game thinking it’s going to love ’em back, but it’s just a thing. It’s not going to love you back. I think if you can [understand] that, you’ll be in a better place than before.”