The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NFL Injuries: Foot and Toe Sprains Sideline Murray and Garcon

Posted by on Friday, October 19th, 2012


I think most coaches and athletes would probably prefer to hear the word “fracture” to the word “sprain.” Fractures, or bone breaks, heal predictably; sprains, or damage to soft tissues, don’t.

With that in mind, we have two NFL players with injuries that have very fuzzy return times: DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboy running back who’s suffering from a sprained foot, and Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins wide receiver, who has a sprained capsule in his second toe joint. Let’s take them one at a time.

DeMarco Murray There was word on Sunday that Murray had the dreaded Lisfranc injury, which could knock him out for the rest of the year, as it did Santonio Holmes. By Tuesday, though, the Cowboys had made it clear that Murray just had a foot sprain, and would not require surgery. He’s expected to miss this week’s game against Carolina, but the team has not projected anything beyond that; they also haven’t given any information about the exact location or extent of the sprain. Murray, who was seen in a walking boot and on crutches, said he’ll be back in week eight (Oct. 28th). Of course athletes always say, “I’m fine! I’ll play tomorrow!” It is worth noting, as ESPN’s Stephania Bell points out, that last year Oakland’s Darren McFadden had what was called a “mild foot sprain” in the first half of the season and never came back.

It’s hard to say, then, how long Murray will be out. In addition to just resting his foot and letting it heal, he’ll probably need to do some physical therapy to ensure that his foot doesn’t stiffen and get weak. If he is back in week eight, that’s nice, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Fantasy Impact So if you’re a Murray owner, what should you do? Felix Jones will take Murray’s carries, but he’s probably owned in most leagues (and not that great, to be honest). Actually, I’m sure all the quality running backs are owned in your league, so let’s look at this another way: what team gives up the most rushing yards and who’s playing them? That would be Buffalo, with a whopping 1041 yards through six games.  They’re playing Tennessee this week, so if an understandably frustrated owner in your league has dropped Chris Johnson, you could take a chance that this will be his one great performance of the year. Indy’s another team with a weak run defense. They’re playing Cleveland, whose star running back Trent Richardson may be limited with a rib injury, so you could pick up Montario Hardesty, who performed well last week when Richardson went out.

Pierre Garcon This is an interesting injury–a sprained capsule of the second toe. Joints are covered in capsules, soft tissue that holds the joint in place and helps it move smoothly. Like any soft tissue, it can sprain, or become strained and inflamed, even suffer tiny tears. When you run, you push off with your toes, so a sprained toe capsule will hurt with each step and certainly won’t get better without rest. Garcon took some time off, then came back and tried to play through it, but clearly was in pain. Now the team is sitting him until it really heals. Again, with any kind of sprain or soft tissue injury, it’s hard to predict recovery time; the standard line is two to six weeks, which is a pretty big window in a season that’s about one-third of the way through. For now call him week to week.

Fantasy Impact Again, let’s look at the opposition’s weaknesses. New England is giving up a lot of yards to receivers, so you might want to take a chance on New York Jets rookie Jeremy Kerley. He’s only owned in 40% of Yahoo! leagues, so you probably can get him. Buffalo also has been kind to receivers and they’re playing Tennessee; Titans receiver Kendall Wright has been making an impression, and he’s still available in 53% of Yahoo! leagues. The other Titan receivers, Nate Washington and Kenny Britt are also good bets, but probably less available in most leagues.

You may not be affecting anyone’s fantasy team but your own, but if you have foot pain, you too, might have a foot sprain or sprained toe capsule, just like the big guys. Get your foot checked out by a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) to find out what’s going on and start on the road to recovery.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.