Emmanuel Sanders played through 17 regular-season games in 2019. Now, he hopes to play in three more. Luckily for the 10-year veteran receiver, his San Francisco 49ers earned the best record in the NFC and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Sanders needed the rest, after all.

By the end of the regular season, nearly everyone is at least a little banged up. Players just play through the pain and discomfort. For Sanders, that meant playing through a painful rib injury suffered in a Week 10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He didn't miss any time, though, and fought through the 49ers' seven remaining games.

Sanders joined 95.7 The Game on Wednesday and discussed how important the week off was for his health.

"It was important. My body was hurting," Sanders told Damon Bruce, Ray Ratto, and Matt Kolsky. "I think Seattle week (Week 17), I practiced, but I think I might have taken like seven or nine reps the entire week of practice. That's because my body was just sore, and I was like, 'Just get me to the game on Sunday.' But I was able to go in that game and make a lot of plays, and we were able to win it. So that's what matters.

"But I was so happy that we won that game just to give my body a break, to be able to take care of it for a whole week. A lot of people say, 'What would a week do?' In this nature of business, 24 hours, 48 hours is huge. So when you get seven days to be able to rehab and recover, that's huge for your body to be able to accomplish something these last — I pray to God — these last three games, in trying to obtain something special, and do something special.

"To be able to get my body back is everything, so I'm definitely loving the fact that I was able to do that. I'm looking forward to going into a game feeling a lot better than I felt the Seattle game."

Yes, Sanders is feeling better, but that doesn't mean he's 100 percent healthy heading into the team's first playoff game. There are probably very few NFL players who can claim that to be the case right now.

"When you play, at this point in the season, you've just got to understand that nobody's feeling good," Sanders continued. "Everybody has some nagging injury. I've got big injuries, and I've got small injuries I deal with, all the way down to a finger that I feel like is going to pop out of place.

"You're just dealing with the injuries, and I think sometimes the fans don't understand. They just see guys out there on the field. They don't even understand what guys are playing through, and the stuff that we've got to do to prepare for a game, to go out and play.

"I remember at the end of the season, I'm out there with a cracked cartilage in my rib, and every play I'm getting hit, it just feels like someone is jabbing a knife in my ribs. But you go out, and you have to do your job, and that's how this league goes. And that's why I said 24 to 48 hours is important in this business."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Sanders below.

[omny https://957thegame.radio.com/media/audio-channel/drk-emmanuel-sanders-1820]