When something either awesome or terrible happens throughout the fantasy season, almost immediately I mentally reflect back to August, when hope floated softly in the warm late-summer air, and failure’s bitter death grasp hadn’t yet sunk its nails deep into our skin.
Oh yes, cheerful times indeed. I didn’t do this earlier today when Maurice Jones-Drew was ruled out for Week 8 against the Packers after suffering a foot injury yesterday, because while that thoroughly sucks, it wasn’t exactly surprising, and a one-game absence alone isn’t a blow to MJD’s season. Miss a game, rest a little, and come back stronger. That would be so very Utopian of Jones-Drew.
But there’s more, because there’s always more, and it could get a lot worse fast.
During his press conference earlier this afternoon, Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey karate kicked us in the collective jugular. He was tactfully vague and said that MJD would be out for an “extended period,” but he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a Lisfranc injury. You know, the same injury that’s knocked Santonio Holmes out for the season, and the same injury that ended Matt Schaub’s season early in the middle of November last year, igniting the Texans’ quarterback detonation that eventually led to T.J. Yates starting two playoff games.
After Mularkey also said the injury is in the middle of the foot, that’s all injury expert Jene Bramel needed to conclude that there’s a high probability Jones-Drew is indeed dealing with the dreaded Lisfranc, and his owners have lost their stud before the season’s halfway point.
Mularkey said that Jones-Drew’s injury is in the middle of his foot and that, while he’s not sure of the specifics, a Lisfranc injury cannot be ruled out and he expects Jones-Drew to miss an extended period. That all but confirms that Jones-Drew has a Lisfranc sprain to me, and suggests the Jaguars may be sending the results of his imaging studies to specialists for further evaluation. I hope I’m reading the tea leaves incorrectly, but until we hear something very specific to the contrary, expect Jones-Drew to miss at least 6-8 weeks.
Thanks for the optimism, Jene.
At this point a two-month absence will almost surely end Jones-Drew’s season, or at least it will for fantasy purposes. An eight-week shelving means Jones-Drew could be healthy to return for Week 16, but at that point a 1-5 Jaguars team will have resumed its near-permanent residency in the league’s basement, especially after playing without their only consistent source of offense for two months. The Blow for Geno campaign (Geno Smith) will be in full swing, and there will be little need to make a running back who’s recovered from a serious injury risk further damage.
So prepare for that hurt now, because it could be coming, and coming fast. Especially you, keeper league owners, because remember this past spring and summer when the Texans weren’t certain about Schaub’s health heading into this season due to the lingering nature of the injury? Yeah, that.
But back to that wistful August daydreaming. Jones-Drew sat out all of training camp while protesting his contract, and he even contemplated sitting out for a large chunk of the season. That predictably made his draft stock plummet due to both the simple uncertainty of his situation (WILL HE PLAY?), and also a fear of the unknown (WILL HE BE THE SAME AFTER MISSING CAMP?). Those questions and more prompted a month of debate, analysis, and discussion, which actually worked out quite well, because it was around that time when we launched this here remodeled Internet talking space, so Jones-Drew alone game me like three posts a day. Oh the memories, they run so deep.
If you had a draft in late August when the Jones-Drew panic had reached its peak while he was threatening to sit out for the first 10 weeks of the season, it’s possible that you were able to grab him as late as the fourth round. At the time, you were elated because that’s absurd value on an elite running back who would easily be a first-round pick — and likely even a top-five pick — under normal circumstances.
Now that value pick could take on a different meaning, as it eases the pain a bit. Either way, you’ve lost a starting running back, and you’re likely left trotting out Rashad Jennings for the rest of the season now (oh yeah, you should probably claim him). But consider the pain if, say, Ray Rice is lost for the year, as he was widely selected around where Jones-Drew would have come off the board normally.
Actually, don’t think about that. Don’t ever think about that.