MJD-smoke2

I have many fears, namely spiders, and shrimp (May long weekend, 2004…never forget). But lately, I’ve also grown to be so very afraid of Maurice Jones-Drew.

Not just because I fear diminutive men who could crush me. No, mostly because when the time comes to go about the business of selecting fantasy running backs who could make me money, Jones-Drew may be carrying a lingering injury. Thankfully, such fears are generally irrational in late March, and people in the know have arrived to talk anyone who’s worried about the mightiest mouse off of their ledge.

Jones-Drew’s 2012 season was horribly frustrating, especially for fake footballers. He suffered a left foot injury in Week 7, and although at the time it was widely speculated that his malady was the dreaded high-ankle sprain, talking about the injury was strictly forbidden. So we all waited, and then continued waiting. And we’re still waiting.

There was talk of Jones-Drew returning in the final weeks of the season, and therefore in time for the fantasy playoffs. But as the days progressed with only minimal improvement and the Jaguars kept sucking, Jones-Drew risking injury became an increasingly more pointless proposition. His holiday gift was then surgery a few days after Christmas, and why the procedure was pushed back so much remains a mystery.

So now our calendars say March 20, meaning Jones-Drew is nearly three months into his recovery. Say, is there still rosy optimism that he’ll be just fine, and ready to be run into the ground next fall?

Ryan O’Halloran from the Florida Times-Union spoke to new Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley, who was quite eager to say positive things:

“I’ve had some conversations with him. I know Maurice’s past history is that he leans up as he gets closer to the season. I know this is probably challenging for him to be in the boot and not be doing things physically. But I totally trust him. When he has the time, he’ll be ready to go.”

That’s nice, but the challenge Bradley speaks of is Jones-Drew wearing a boot, which will come off later this week.

While we can all be sure that he’ll be ready for training camp, there’s reason to be at least a little cautious and concerned about an undersized, soon-to-be 28-year-old running back who’s been abused like a rented mule over the past three seasons prior to 2012 (954 carries between 2009 and 2011, including a career high 343 in 2011), and he’s now spending most of his offseason rehabbing an ankle injury. Ankles are pretty important for cutting and such, and Jones-Drew’s original timetable to complete his recovery was late May or early June.