The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NFL News: Broncos’ Brandon Marshall Plays with Broken Screw in Foot After Lisfranc Surgery

Posted by on Wednesday, November 11th, 2015


Brandon Marshall is one heck of a rehabilitation recovery story. Despite playing with a broken screw in his foot following surgical repair for a lisfranc injury, he remains the Denver Bronco’s “leading tackler” and “the NFL’s top inside linebacker” as well.1 Doctors at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC feel this story is an excellent example of what can be achieved through diligent rehabilitation, “taking it one day at a time,” and making the hard calls necessary to get back to the game full-strength.

lisfranc injury
Brandon Marshall Image Source: by Jeffrey Beall

What Happened to Brandon Marshall?

Inside linebacker Brandon Marshall originally sprained his foot on December 14th, 2014 in San Diego. Coming into the game he had 106 tackles and a tremendous amount of playing time. An offensive lineman rolling onto his foot, causing a “pop,” changed all that. He sat out the next two games, but tried to come back perhaps a bit too early.

According to a January 14th post on, Brandon Marshall felt “far more than the pain of a season-ending defeat” after the previous Sunday’s 24-13 loss.2—-but-not-surgery—-on-tap-for-Brandon-Marshall/a542be24-ef1b-4b3a-ba2f-3a35cbb879c3 He played more than half of the defensive snaps against the Indianapolis Colts, which caused his foot to become “real sore.” He explained, “During the game it felt decent. I just didn’t have the same explosiveness off it that I had all year,” but felt that he’d recover without surgery during the off-season.

Brandon Marshall Opts for Surgery After All

A few months later, it was a different story. Perhaps he rushed back to the field for the postseason game against Indy, as USA Today suggested, but the injury didn’t heal as expected. On March 11, Marshall underwent surgery, which placed two screws in his foot to hold the joints in place as the ligaments healed.

Recovery from lisfranc surgery can be slow and full of setbacks. One day you may feel 100%, but the next day, your foot will let you know if you’ve done too much. After two months of very limited activity (and a lot of brushing up on his playbook by watching films), Brandon Marshall was cleared for the weight room by doctors. From May through July, he conditioned and strengthened his body before returning to limited training camp activities on July 30th.

Though he was able to do running drills — including uphill work — ESPN reported that he “did not participate in any of the team’s on-field work during OTAs and minicamp.”3 Marshall credited his recovery with “believing in himself” and “just taking it one day at a time.”4 By mid-August, he made it through a full practice.

A Broken Screw Is Found

A month later, an x-ray revealed that one of the screws placed in his feet during surgery likely broke during the August 29th game against the 49ers, though Marshall didn’t feel it. Despite the setback, the mid-foot joint healed and Marshall was reportedly “a month ahead of schedule” with his recovery as he started the 2015 season opener against the Ravens.

The broken screw didn’t seem to slow him down in the least, as he made six solo tackles and one of the defense’s two sacks. His foot felt “a little sore” afterward, but that’s to be expected. Doctors warned Marshall that the screws would likely cause soreness throughout the season.5

“I don’t have control of what happens to me, but I have control over how I respond,” he told the press.6 “It’s going to nag at me. I have to work hard and rehab. I am still fighting these battles. It’s painful. It’s aggravating. But you know what? I have to push through this for my team, myself and my family. I am on a mission to prove I can overcome a Lisfranc injury and have a great season.”

The screws were originally slated for removal after the season, which still remains the case, so long as he can handle the pain. To have the broken screw removed now would set him back a good eight weeks, doctors told him. “It’s still a foreign object in my body,” Marshall said. “I think my body’s responding to it in a different way, which is why I think I’m a little sore.”7

In September, he was spotted rocking an immobilizing walking boot to maintain stability and reduce pain — which is evidence of the tumultuous rollercoaster ride recovery players often go through. But most recently, Marshall remained hopeful that he’d be “good in a couple of weeks” and says that he hardly feels pain in his foot anymore.

Lisfranc injury recovery in NYC

The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, surgical repair, and rehabilitation of foot sprains and lisfranc injuries. Our board-certified podiatric surgeons and team of sports medicine doctors guide professional and amateur athletes through recovery using the latest technologies and treatments. Call us to be seen right away.




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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.