Game Time Decision That Matters

 

vernon-davis national anthem

Vernon Davis is a game time decision after spraining the deltoid ligament in his left ankle in week 2.

The Science

The Deltoid ligament is the main ligament on the inside of your ankle.  Many of us who have done anything athletic know that the most common sprain in the ankle occurs by turning the foot inward and causing a sprain to the outside part of the ankle. In the case of Davis, the opposite is what caused the injury.

ankle-sprain-ligs
The image on the left shows the more typical ankle sprain; while the image on the right shows the area that Vernon Davis suffered his injury

Davis suffered what is described above as an eversion sprain.  The main ligament that is injured in this type of sprain in the deltoid ligament.  In these cases, the individual will experience pain on the inside of their ankle that is likely increased when they put the foot down and bear weight.  It is reported that Davis also is listed to have a knee injury, which makes sense considering that when that ankle gets pushed inward to eversion, there is also a valgus (from the outside of the knee pushing it inward toward the other knee) force put on the knee.

Similar to most sprain injuries, treatment includes keeping the ligament unstressed and supporting the joint that the ligament is usually responsible for helping stabilize.  In Davis’ case, he would likely wear a boot and likely have the ankle wrapped to control swelling.  If Davis is a pronator (has flat feet), this injury may be even tougher to handle.  I doubt this is the case as Vernon Davis is the fastest tight end in the game and speed and flat feet don’t usually mix.  This injury for most is about a 3 week deal but for an NFL athlete with a professional staff, I’d give it 2 weeks.

What you need to know

It is likely that Davis will have his ankles wrapped, a shot for pain, and maybe even some extra support in his cleats to reduce his chances of turning that ankle inward again.  That being said, I think he plays….but just not that well.  With your feet and ankles being the liaison between the ground and the rest of your body for impact in regard to running and jumping, an injury like this will likely steal some of Davis’ push off, therefore slowing his straight line speed.  Additionally, I look for him to have a hard time cutting hard to his right.  When cutting to his right, his left knee and ankle will feel the pull to the inside and likely resist, be hesitant, or cause pain.  If the Eagles are smart, they will push him to his right with coverage schemes and more importantly, physically push him to his right to put the pressure on the inside of his left knee and ankle.

Look for Davis to give it a go but to fade as the game goes on.  If he is your starting tight end, you still may get more out of him rather than someone on waivers (as i know you don’t have two tight ends on your roster).  With ILB-Kendricks out for the Eagles, and Nate Allen and possibly Casey Matthews in the area, Davis may put up some big numbers just in the first half.

Rams at 49ers

We expect Davis to be back to 100% in the next 1-2 weeks if he does nothing to aggravate this injury.  But in the long run beware, as Davis is moving toward our Red Zone at 30 years old.  Freaky talented players are the ones who generally drop off quick when Father Time starts draining that talent away.  This may be a preview for more injuries to come in the next couple of years.

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