So a year ago I had this wild thought run through my head that things just weren’t on the up and up with how the Oakland Raiders dealt with Darren McFadden’s foot injury. It seemed odd to me that each week it was the same song and dance. Run DMC couldn’t jog let alone play a game of pro football yet he was never placed on injured reserve and at no point was there ever any evidence that he was anywhere near being ready to return.
Eventually we all found out that McFadden had suffered a Lisfranc injury in his foot which we could get into detail about but that would dumb down an otherwise highly scientific post (that’s tongue in check in case you missed it). Basically, it’s a midfoot injury in which one of the metatarsal bones becomes displaced from the tarsus. It’s not a clean break but it’s a bone injury for which only rest and/or surgery plus some time in a cast can correct.
Now before I get knee deep into conspiracy waters let first reflect on McFadden’s career. As we all know dude has a case of the Ken Griffeys – he’s injury prone.
As a rookie McFadden suffered through a couple of nasty cases of turf toe. Once the season concluded McFadden would go on to have a shoulder surgery done outside of the Raiders’ team physicians and without the team knowing apparently.
There were plenty of rumblings that McFadden was unhappy with how the team dealt with his turf toe injuries so he sought private consultation for a shoulder injury he had sustained in only his second game as a pro.
All this leads me back to last season where we watched each week as McFadden made no progress to getting back on the field yet was never placed on IR. In the same time since McFadden was injured and has recovered a few other NFLers have suffered the same foot ailment. Matt Schaub, Santonio Holmes and recently Cedric Benson and Ryan Kalil among others were all shutdown for the season once the same injury was diagnosed.
Now I fully realize there are varying degrees of Lisfranc some requiring surgery others simply requiring rest. By all accounts the approach taken with McFadden has yielded the appropriate result. He is healthy and back on the field less than a year later with no obvious side effects.
However one has to wonder why McFadden was never shutdown once it became apparent he was not going to play again. Hue Jackson spun it by saying Run DMC would have been good to go had the team made the postseason. That is highly doubtful but if that’s what helped Hue sleep at night then so be it.
Where it’s even more concerning from a team standpoint is that the Raiders wasted a roster spot that could have gone to an available running back that could have spelled Michael Bush. As you’ll recall Bush was run into the ground and by season’s end was no longer producing at the level he’s capable of.
Also, you can’t help but think the team trainers were more focused on getting McFadden back on the field than they were getting him healthy. The difference being one approach would be more rushed while the other would be much less time sensitive.
Either way we’re splitting hairs, I understand that.
McFadden has fully recovered and the Raiders have renovated from top to bottom. Many of the policies of the past are gone like the Al Davis scholarship program. Hopefully the guessing game on managing injuries and roster space is a thing of the past as well. Most every other player with Lisfranc has been placed on IR or has at least been removed from the active roster at some point. That McFadden never was placed on IR is alarming on some levels yet concerning on every level. It shows a wait-and-see approach with more emphasis being placed on the value to the team versus health of the player.
Thankfully you get the feeling this new regime would handle the situation much differently.