Marquise Brown Foot Injury Reports
Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown suffered a foot injury at the end of Sunday’s game against Seattle. Numerous conflicting reports surfaced about the status of his foot. Initial reports on Sunday stated that an X-ray was negative for any fracture. On Monday, however, reports began emerging that he could miss the rest of the season. These reports were quickly followed by an expected 6-week absence due to a foot fracture. So how does Marquise Brown’s foot injury impact his rest-of-season outlook?
Marquise Brown Foot Injury management
We do not have reports on what bone was fractured, but he should be non-weight bearing (NWB) for 4-6 weeks to allow the fracture to heal without taking on daily stresses with walking. As part of this, he will likely be either in a boot or a cast and using crutches while rehabbing.
The NWB status significantly impacts his strength and athleticism as he returns from injury. Anytime someone cannot put weight through their leg for a substantial amount of time, muscle atrophy (muscle loss) occurs RAPIDLY! Literally, within days he will start to lose strength. This atrophy occurs from the foot muscles up to the hip and core muscles. This can be mitigated with physical therapy exercises that he undoubtedly will be doing daily as he recovers. The challenge is that while he will be cleared to exercise from the lower leg up to the core, he will likely not be able to do any exercises to maintain foot and ankle strength over the next few weeks. This means his foot and ankle strength will be weaker when he is cleared to weight-bear and run.
After a few weeks of protecting the fracture, and before he is cleared to weight-bear, he may be cleared to perform “foot intrinsic” exercises. The foot intrinsic muscles are the tiny muscles that make up our foot’s arch and control toe motion. Despite their small size, regaining the strength of these muscles is pivotal.
When he is cleared to weight-bear, regaining stability on one leg will be paramount. This is another skill that, when healthy, we take for granted. After NWB for several weeks, control on one leg is often impacted. Football players are constantly on one foot when running, cutting, and jumping, and having control of one leg is essential for both performance and preventing injury.
Foot and ankle anatomy and function
The foot and ankle comprised of 28 bones and 33 joints. Some of these joints are likely to get stiff when this complex is immobilized in a cast or boot for a few weeks. With running, cutting, and jumping, both the foot and ankle must have adequate movement and strength.
The ankle must bend upward into the motion of dorsiflexion 10° to absorb shock properly. The foot and ankle also must pronate (arch moving towards the ground, foot rolling in) and supinate (arch rising, foot rolling out) roughly 5° and 20°, respectively (numbers vary based on source). The action of pronation allows more shock absorption, and the action of supination creates a firm foot to generate power when pushing off to run, cut, or jump.
Consequence of Injury
The available range of these motions is at risk following an injury like Browns. With it being a foot injury, the motions of pronation and supination are particularly at risk for becoming stiff. This could create altered movement patterns and poor shock absorption in the future. As his bone heals, manual physical therapy techniques and exercises can be implemented to regain these motions. Sometimes the range can be fully restored, but frequently it is not.
Marquise Brown Rest of season outlook
So how will Marquise Brown’s foot injury impact his rest of season? Brown is incredibly talented, and his game is built on speed and quickness. He will likely miss at least six weeks, with the potential to miss more. Because of the inevitable weakness and stiffness when he is cleared to weight-bear, I expect it to take longer than six weeks to return to 100%. Whether or not that means he misses more than six weeks or does not play at 100% in his first few weeks.
I don’t doubt Brown will get back to 100% at some point. Based on the current timeline, he will likely miss weeks 7-12 and be less than 100% for weeks 13-14. By weeks 15-16, he may be nearing 100%.
Fantasy players need to decide if he is worth continuing to roster, trading away if you need to win now, or trading for and stashing for a late-season run.
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