Week 3: A Few Key Injuries



Key injuries

Jake Locker-The Tennessee QB is reported to have a right wrist injury after a loss at Cincinatti….lets break it down.

The Science

The wrist joint is comprised of the two bones in the forearm as they attach to many small bones in the hand.  Surrounding this joint are ligaments and tendons, some of which extend from the fingertips all the way to the elbow.  During the throwing motion the wrist joint is responsible for releasing the ball by flexing as well as side bending inward which is also known as ulnar deviation.  Additionally, because all of the tendons and ligaments that pass the wrist extend to the hand and forearm; injuries to the wrist area generally will affect grip strength and hand control.

What you need to know

If Locker is your starting QB (I would hope this is not the case) or you plan on betting on the Titans to upset the Colts this week…….DON’T DO IT!  Even if Locker plays, a wrist injury likely makes him ineffective.  The fact that he has not been said to have a broken wrist (which would have been immediately seen on x-rays), tells us that this is a wrist sprain/strain injury.  The smart option is to give Locker at least 2-3 weeks to heal as this is about how long an injury like this will linger.  Our expert advice is to jump back on the Locker bandwagon (does he have a band wagon?) in week 6 when the Titans host the Jaguars; assuming Locker and the Titans don’t get him injured further in the meanwhile.

Steelers Defense

CB-Ike Taylor went down with a broken forearm, Rookie LB-Ryan Shazier went down with a sprained MCL, and LB-Jarvis Jones went down with a wrist injury.

The Science

Lets start with the most minor of the three-Shazier’s Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) sprain appears to be a grade 1 or minor sprain.  The MCL is a ligament that runs down the inside of your knee that prevents the knee from bending inward.  The knee is a hinge joint and is only meant to bend into a flexed position as if bringing your calf to the back of your thigh and then return to its straight position.  Any other directions of movement are protected by ligaments.  Sometimes the force is too much for the ligament and the athlete will suffer a sprain of that ligament which means the ligament is stretching more than it should.  Sprains can have 3 grades-grade 1 means it stretches but does not tear-this is usually painful and is associated with swelling but many return to activity quickly, a grade 2 means the ligament has some level of tearing and therefore the joint has some level of instability as well as the pain and swelling that comes with a grade 1, grade 3 is a full tear and this means surgery in most cases.

Jarvis Jones wrist injury apparently required surgery.  For those unfamiliar with the wrist, refer to our explanation for the Jake Locker injury.  However, unlike Locker, Jones must have torn a tendon or ligament or broke a bone for surgery to be needed. If his surgery is to repair broken bone, he will likely need 6-8 weeks to heal followed by time to regain his strength.  A soft tissue injury to ligament or tendon in that wrist area, that requires surgery, will also give a similar time frame.  In many of these cases the athlete will avoid weight on the wrist and hand which will limit strength and conditioning significantly until healing occurs.

The most major of the three has to be Ike Taylor.  Taylor appeared to suffer a distal (closer to his hand than his elbow) fracture to forearm in which the bone was displaced on impact.  The severity of this fracture can vary based on the type of fracture-at best he would have a simple fracture in which the bone breaks with a clean line for the surgeon to put back in place and at worst he could have a comminuted fracture in which the bone breaks into little pieces which makes fixating (putting it back together) more difficult.  In either case he is likely looking at 8 weeks or more for the healing process, toward the end of his career.

What you need to know

The Steeler defense definitely did not get better on Sunday night with these losses but with Shazier likely down for less than 2 weeks and returning near full speed and rumors of James Harrison returning to replace Jones; the losses are maybe not as bad as they seem.  Jones will likely be back for a playoff run if the Steelers are in that conversation.  As for Taylor, this may be the beginning of the end.  As a physical corner who needs to jam and tackle at a high level, he may struggle to compete at a high level, and if he does it will likely be next season.