Raiders running back Darren McFadden has been out of action since he suffered a midfoot sprain Oct. 23. Fifty one days later, we’re nowhere closer to knowing the true severity of the injury or when he might return.
On Sunday, coach Hue Jackson first used the dreaded term Lisfranc injury when asked if McFadden’s injury is more severe than originally disclosed.
On Monday, Jackson said people can call it a midfoot sprain or a Lisfranc injury. Either way, he views it in the same light, he said, and that McFadden does not need surgery.
Rather than speculate, let’s call in ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell for her take. If you don’t know of Ms. Bell or read her regular columns, you should make a point of doing so. She provides a detailed account of what injuries mean, what the standard procedure is for each injury and how long a player should miss, on average.
Here’s what Bell had to say Tuesday about McFadden’s injury:
“Things still don’t look good. The poor outlook noted at the start of last week has become grimmer as another week has passed with no obvious signs of progress from McFadden. If anything, there is less clarity about McFadden’s injury than ever. On Sunday, CBS analyst Phil Simms commented that McFadden was dealing with a Lisfranc injury. Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times best captures the semantics issue around the term “Lisfranc” and coach Hue Jackson’s response as it relates to McFadden in his Monday post on the topic.
In an attempt to interpret the cause of the confusion, it should be noted that the term Lisfranc is an anatomical description of a region of the foot, specifically a complex joint comprising the bones and ligaments that connect the midfoot to the forefoot. An injury in this area could technically be called a midfoot sprain or a Lisfranc injury, and both would be correct. Injuries range from minor ligament tearing involving a single joint to multijoint severe injuries including fracture and dislocation. The latter type require surgery to fix; the former do not.
As Lisfranc injuries have become more common in the NFL and have led to season-ending surgeries for some (Ronnie Brown, Dwight Freeney and most recently Matt Schaub), when the term is used, the implication is that the athlete has suffered the most severe, season-ending variety. That degree of injury does not always result. Since the Raiders insist McFadden does not need surgery, it would appear that his injury is of the less severe type and that, perhaps, is why the term “Lisfranc” was avoided. For any injury to the midfoot, it is important that full healing occur in order to restore normal gait and prevent future problems, which can render the recovery process slow. In McFadden’s case, his recovery appears to be taking longer than the Raiders initially projected it would, adding to the frustration of all looking from the outside in. At this point, despite Jackson’s statement that he expects McFadden to return, it’s hard to imagine a full-strength McFadden resurfacing within the next three weeks.”
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