Perhaps the most difficult call to make in the sports world is anything related to injury. Just think of all the factors involved. From the physician’s job of properly diagnosing to the coaching staff’s obligation to protect players while also trying to win. Nothing is ever easy about injury, especially in the brutal business of football.
Today Darren McFadden spoke for the first time since injury claimed yet another one of his NFL seasons. Naturally the initial question thrown his way related to his foot and where he is in the healing process?
His answer was very innocent but its implications could prove problematic for the Raiders.
McFadden simply stated that he’s feeling better physically and that his type of injury takes a long time to recover from.
The latter half being the reason for concern as it relates to the Raiders and their medical staff. You see during the season most were led to believe that McFadden’s injury was a week-to-week kind of deal. Initially the prognosis called for a few weeks of rest. As we all know he never returned to the field.
At no point did the Raiders even place McFadden on injured reserve in order to open a roster spot. At no point was he even healthy enough to do light running. So why did the Raiders keep him around as if a miracle cure was going to pop up at CVS one day?
Even more troubling is that Matt Schaub of the Houston Texans suffered a similar injury and he was shutdown immediately so the recovery process could begin.
How was it that the Oakland medical staff failed to see the nature of McFadden’s injury?
But this isn’t the first time McFadden and the Raider team doctors have had differing views. A few years ago McFadden sought out an outside medical opinion on an injured shoulder. A shoulder he would eventually have surgery on also done outside of the team’s control.
Now I’m no doctor. My medical expertise is limited to anything that requires and ice pack or a Band Aid. But I do know when something smells funky. And the continuing situation between McFadden and the Raiders’ medical staff isn’t passing the smell test.
To be fair Run DMC is just injury prone. It doesn’t matter who his doctor is, that won’t change how his body is constructed. So I am by no means assigning blame to the Raiders for his injury issues.
However it is more than fair to question whether or not McFadden’s injuries are receiving the proper attention.
What did the Raiders gain by keeping him on the active roster when he clearly had no chance to return? They should have shut him down and removed any urgency to rush to recover. After all, McFadden himself said his injury takes “a long time to heal”.
The real question is what was communicated between the doctors and the individuals that make the final call. In most instances you’d single out Al Davis as he is the one that makes every vital decision. Of course there was no way Mr. Davis could have made that call. So who was making these decisions?
Perhaps there was much more going on behind the scenes with Hue Jackson that we’ll ever know. Could be the Raiders just have an incompetent medical staff. Then again, maybe the extent of the injury wasn’t fully realized until it was too late. Mistakes do happen.
The real concern is what this means to McFadden going forward. Without his services the Raiders are a middle of the road franchise. In order to make Carson Palmer’s Lombardi dream come true a healthy McFadden will be very necessary. Hopefully there are no lasting affects of his injury. Last thing we need is for this franchise to shoot itself in the foot.