Monday Injury Debriefing

Trent Richardson started yesterday and received a heavy workload (eight carries and two receptions) through two series before Pat Shurmur decided he’d seen enough. Richardson said that he felt no pain this week and was wearing added protection, but did not run hard and braced himself for hits instead of initiating contact. Both Shurmur and Richardson said after the game that the rib injury wasn’t aggravated, but Richardson told reporters that the “injury is much bigger than what folks think it is.”

It’s hard to know what that means. I doubt he’d have been cleared to play with a more severe injury (e.g. lung or kidney contusion). And his continued comments that he’s feeling no pain don’t fit that argument either. I think the truth is probably somewhere in-between. Rib injuries are painful to play through. I don’t think he has (or had) a multi-week injury, but I think the full week of limited practice spread some false hope. Expect Richardson to be limited for the next 1-3 weeks and we’ll have a better idea about his Week 8 availability after the Wednesday practice participation report.

Maurice Jones-Drew left yesterday’s game after two carries with an injury to his left foot. There’s been no information released yet and it’s very difficult to tell from the television replays what happened. I think the injury occurred on his first carry when a defender landed on the back and side of his foot; there didn’t appear to be anything unusual on the second carry. Trainers taped over Jones-Drew’s shoe and he looked ready to return at one point before going back to the locker room and returning in a walking boot and with crutches. That leaves open quite a few diagnostic possibilities, some more concerning than others. Mike Mularkey will reportedly have more to say on Jones-Drew’s condition today.

[Afternoon edit: Mike Mularkey said that Jones-Drew’s injury is in the middle of his foot and that, while he’s not sure of the specifics, a Lisfranc injury cannot be ruled out and he expects Jones-Drew to miss an extended period. That all but confirms that Jones-Drew has a Lisfranc sprain to me, and suggests the Jaguars may be sending the results of his imaging studies to specialists for further evaluation. I hope I’m reading the tea leaves incorrectly, but until we hear something very specific to the contrary, expect Jones-Drew to miss at least 6-8 weeks.]

I wasn’t surprised that Jimmy Graham missed yesterday’s game. I am surprised that Will Carroll has been told by a source that Graham does not have a high ankle sprain. I still believe that the mechanism of injury was most consistent with a high ankle sprain. I’ve seen some say that’s not possible because Graham went back into the game two weeks ago (false – adrenaline and taping can get a player through before the swelling and inflammation become too limiting) or because he was reportedly running well on the side last week (false – a player may be able to run well, but stopping and changing directions remain significant concerns). It’s too early to rule Graham out this week, but he’ll likely be limited in practice and could again be a game-time decision. Consider him week-to-week until we see otherwise.

We’ll know much more about DeMarco Murray this week. He says he’ll be back at practice and playing this week and the team had (mostly) reassuring things to say about his presumptive diagnosis. We’re now told that he’ll have another round of tests today. That could mean that a planned examination (and possible imaging) after a week in the walking boot or it could mean that he’s already been re-examined and there’s enough concern for another MRI. Regardless, if he hasn’t shed his walking boot by Wednesday, his return to play estimate becomes much murkier. Many midfoot sprains take multiple weeks to heal and the follow-up testing is a concern. If Murray remains immobilized over a week after the injury, a higher grade injury (and a 2-6 week timetable to return) is very likely.

Frank Gore has ten days to recover from his rib contusions and was optimistic after a light workout this weekend. But, as we’ve seen with Trent Richardson (and others), rib injuries take time to heal. Gore has a history of playing through pain, so he’ll likely be available against Arizona this week. But watch his practice participation closely.

The news continues to get worse on Pierre Garcon. Last week, Mike Shanahan suggested that Garcon was dealing with capsulitis – a turf toe like inflammation of the capsular ligament surrounding the base of the toe joint – of his second toe. Yesterday, Mike Garafolo was told that Garcon also has a torn tendon in his foot. There was no indication on whether the tendon injury occurred recently or whether it’s been part of the injury complex from the start. It’s more likely the former. Garafolo’s source says that Garcon could play sooner but that the team could choose to hold him out until after the Redskins’ Week 10 bye. Some torn tendons require surgery, others and partial tears may not, but it’s hard to see Garcon returning to play in four weeks. Expect his absence to last until at least Week 11.

Rashard Mendenhall reportedly wasn’t close to returning yesterday. It’s possible that his Achilles inflammation is minor and the team is exercising caution with a player who’s still getting into football shape after an ACL recovery. More likely, the condition may now keep him out multiple weeks. Achilles injuries are difficult for running backs to play through. They limit short area explosiveness in all directions and tend to worsen rather than loosen up with more repetitions. Depending on the location and type of inflammation, there’s also some risk of tendon rupture. Hopefully, Mendenhall is back practicing this week, but don’t be shocked if he misses another week or more.

There’s absolutely no reason for the Packers to rush Greg Jennings back to practice. The offense is rounding into top form and Randall Cobb has complemented Jordy Nelson extremely well. So, if Jennings returns soon, you can be confident that his groin injury is behind him. But I think it’s unlikely that we see him until Week 11. Aggravations of muscle strains are commonly more severe than the initial injury and Jennings has already missed three weeks of practice. That strongly suggests a mid-grade strain, an injury that usually carries a 4-8 week recovery period. While it’s possible that Jennings could be ready in time to play in Week 9, don’t expect to see him unless the Packers have other injuries in the interim.

Fred Davis will miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles tendon. I’ve led a crusade the flawed argument that Achilles injuries are a career-ender. While I won’t minimize what will be a tough rehabilitation and recovery, expect a full recovery for Davis. There’s a very good chance he’ll return to form in 2013.

We should also get more information today on Blaine Gabbert (shoulder), London Fletcher (hamstring), Sean Lee (toe) and Ben Tate (hamstring). I’ll also be looking for any suggestion that Aaron Hernandez aggravated his high ankle sprain yesterday. More on all these issues in Wednesday’s FBG Insider column.

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Categories: News and Notes

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1 reply

  1. Pretty solid analysis.

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