Adam Levitan

Injuries in Depth

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How risky is Jones-Drew?

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

There are two sides to injuries on fantasy draft day. If your opponents are scared off for unfounded reasons, it's a chance to get a player on the cheap. If we believe an injury entails taking on more risk than there is worth, it's a red flag.

To help us with making these determinations, we chatted with Brian Eckenrode, PT, DPT, MS, OCS and sports rehabilitation specialist for GSPP Penn Therapy and Fitness at the Penn Sports Medicine Center in Philadelphia. For more info on GSPP and the Penn Sports Medicine Center, head to

Editor's Note: For updated rankings, projections, exclusive columns, team reports, bold predictions, sleepers, busts and much more, get the 2011 Draft Guide!

Injury: Underwent surgery to repair a torn right meniscus in January. Didn't start running until June.
Current status: Easing his way into camp, limited reps.
Current average draft position: 9.2

Jones-Drew described his injury as a bone-on-bone condition last season. Is that a red flag to you?
You never like to hear that. When doctors say it to their patients, it just means there is some cartilage degeneration. The cartilage was either worn away in a section or he has torn some cartilage. In this case they're talking about the meniscus.

We don't know the degree of bone-on-bone, but certainly if he had surgery to fix the meniscus there was something going on in there. He's going to probably be more susceptible to a wear and tear type thing.

Can simple running make it worse or does he need to take a hit?
Certainly a bad trauma could make this worse, but also if he pivots and cuts the wrong way that also could make it a little bit worse. Long-term effects are going to be a little more severe. But short-term, if he progresses slowly he should be fine to take some lower-body hits.

ROTOWORLD OPINION: This Jaguars' offense projects to be bad. Without any threatening receivers or tight ends, defenses can focus solely on Jones-Drew. Dr. Eckenrode pointed out that although he thinks Jones-Drew can be effective despite the injury, his knee will need to be "preserved." That could very well lead to more snaps for talented backup Rashad Jennings. At an ADP of 9.2, it's just not worth the risk.

Injury: Underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee shortly after the season. It is his fifth known surgery on his knees in the last five years.
Current status: Sat out three straight days of practice last week to rest knee.
Current average draft position: 46.6

Why do athletes get microfracture surgery?
They usually do it because a guy has a cartilage defect, where there is almost like a pothole in the bone. In the microfracture procedure they kind of probe, push into the bone and try to stimulate blood to help fill in cartilage.

How serious is it?
The problem is that it takes such a long time to recover, it takes a long time for your body to regenerate. Patients often need to be protected for a long time from weight-bearing, maybe even a couple months or more. And when they have this procedure, the cartilage that regenerates is different than what your body already has so it's not as strong.

Is Colston certain to regain all his athletic abilities like agility and leaping?
There's a little bit more risk partly because what your body makes in replace of what it had isn't as strong. He'll need to work his way in. He's going to have a decent amount of his ability it's more a matter of how much his knee joint can handle.

ROTOWORLD OPINION: The fact that Colston is reportedly lighting up Saints camp when he's out there gives some hope. But with Jimmy Graham set to steal red zone targets, Robert Meachem seemingly ready for a breakout and the Saints ready to run the ball more with Mark Ingram, Colston's ceiling isn't that high. Let someone else bet that he'll still be elite.

Editor's Note: See where we have Colston ranked in the 2011 Draft Guide!

Injury: Plantar fasciitis
Status: Has passed his physical, but admitted that he is still feeling pain in his feet.
Current average draft position: 34.1

What exactly is plantar fasciitis and how do you get it?
The plantar fascia is a tissue that goes from your heel up toward your toes. It helps maintain a little bit of the arch. Some people that have really flat feet can stretch it out and people with really high-arched feet, the plantar fascia can get under a lot of stress just from walking on it. People that are heavier tend to have more problems with this, it is an overuse type thing.

Does it surprise you he's still feeling it after a full offseason of rest?
No. This can be pretty nagging. In some bad cases, we've seen the doctor put them in a boot and tell them not to put any weight on that foot for 4-6 weeks. Because every time he steps he may be irritating it. This can be something can become chronic. If he's still complaining about it, it's certainly at the chronic stage. It may be a matter of how much he can play through it.

Is it possible that Gates will just wake up one day and feel great again?
A gradual pace would be more expected. Maybe he will feel a little better, then a little better, and then hey, it's non-existent. There are lots of different things out there you can do to make it better -- orthotics, splints etc.

As one of the tougher guys in the league, Gates is going to play through this injury. Even if he needs a numbing injection, he will still be the top tight end anytime he takes the field. If you take Gates, be sure to protect yourself with a solid TE2. If you don't want the risk, we certainly don't blame you as the tight end position is deeper than ever this year.

Follow Adam Levitan on Twitter.

Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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