November 15, 2014
Mark Sanchez is the talk of the league now that injured Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback-Nick Foles is out with a fractured clavicle for 6-8 weeks. But will Foles be able to return from this injury?
The clavicle bone which is very commonly referred to as the collarbone is basically the bridge from your sternum (breast bone) to your scapula (shoulder blade). Just like an actual bridge, when the clavicle is injured or broken, it leads to a ton of problems. Many of the bones in our body are simply involved in a short list of actions or responsibilities, but the clavicle is not one of them. The clavicle serves as one of the attachment sites for muscles of the neck, shoulder, and chest region. Without a functioning clavicle, in many ways the entire upper extremity on the affected side is shut down. Try it yourself; put your opposite hand on your clavicle and move your arm in any direction. You will subtly feel your clavicle rotating and moving with every arm movement. After a clavicle injury the only arm movements that will be allowed are from the elbow down. Even for a non athlete, this is a very limiting injury, especially if it occurs on your dominant side. Luckily the most common way to fracture this bone is just as Nick Foles did–by falling on it. I imagine that not many of you are making a living falling on your shoulder, so for that reason this is a less common injury outside of athletics.
Similar to any other bone fracture, the clavicle will typically heal in 6-8 weeks. One of the earliest considerations, which we saw in the case of Nick Foles is whether surgery is needed. Surgery is generally needed if the fracture causes displacement of the bone or if the bone is crushed or shattered. In Foles case, the fracture was not displaced meaning that although he had fractured the bone it was still in good alignment which will allow it to heal without surgical intervention. In other cases, a surgeon may have to go in and put the bone fragments back in the proper position to allow healing to occur properly.
In either case, the injured side will generally be put in a sling for support during the healing period and range of motion will be maintained with Physical Therapy. The important issue is what happens to the muscles during the 6-8 week healing period. That good old saying: “If you don’t use it you lose it” applies here. After recovering from this type of fracture you can expect an individual to be weaker in the shoulder area, chest area, neck area, and the upper back area as the clavicle plays a role in the movements of all of these areas. This will be the case for Nick Foles, but fortunately he injured his non throwing arm.
Upon satisfactory bone healing, Foles will be able to resume using his left arm and build that strength back up. The entire process is typically a 3 month deal but as I always say, the NFL does everything faster. Foles could legitimately be back on the field at the 8 week mark with this injury, assuming he gains satisfactory strength.
Fantasy and Real Life Implications
Although I just said that Nick Foles should heal up and be ready to go in 2-3 months, the key word is “should”. I do not believe Foles will get his job back from Mark Sanchez. Although Nick Foles had a residual buzz from last years exceptional performance, he was severely under-performing this year. Additionally, the Chip Kelly system fits a more athletic Quarterback much better than it does the lumbering Foles. I know Chip will say he does not need a running QB, and I agree, but the offense does need an athlete. Mark Sanchez is the perfect blend of athlete and Quarterback for that system and I believe he will be the Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback for years to come. Many will disagree based on the “Sanchize” experiment in New York but I place all of that blame on poor coaching. I assert that Mark Sanchez has been a better Quarterback than Nick Foles his entire life and on every level–Pee Wee, JV, Varsity, College, Draft, etc. That is until he met Rex Ryan and Brian Schottenheimer. I think the people who analyze this type of thing; the Mel Kiper’s of the world would fully agree with me on this point, but either way I think we will soon see that he is still better than Foles.
To be clear, I don’t think that Foles is done in the NFL. He has done enough to make a name for himself and will get another chance somewhere or possibly be a coveted back up. But he is not getting the Eagles gig back, therefore I say this injury is threatening his career. Unfortunately Nick Foles has not made it to his second contract yet, and for most NFL players the second contract is what should put you on easy street for the rest of your life (although it usually does not). I believe by the time it is time to negotiate that second contract that Foles may just be a back-up. It will all have to play out in the next year or two, but for now the message that you need to get is to start Mark Sanchez everywhere.
As I have stated in the past, I play one day fantasy on Draftkings.com and the million dollar winner had guess who as his starting quarterback…..Mark Sanchez. Guess who the second place winner had at QB……you guessed it, Mark Sanchez. This is not a fluke and this was not just because he played the Panthers. Sanchez will flourish in this offense, and it is not a coincidence that Chip Kelly chose to get him this offseason. He may quite possibly be in a perfect situation and you will be too if you start him at Quarterback in your traditional and one day fantasy leagues.