put (one) back on (one's) heels

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put (one) back on (one's) heels

To put someone into a state of surprise, unease, or bemusement, especially such that it affects their ability to perform or function. The sudden arrest of one of our teammates last night certainly put us back on our heels, and we weren't able to play to the best of our abilities this morning. The tragedy put the entire community back on their heels.
See also: back, heel, on, put