Injury Report – Arian Foster

Buyer Beware

Buyer Beware:   Dr. Mike says Foster’s bound to breakdown.

A new addition to The Machine, please welcome our Chief Physical Therapist, Dr. Mike (think Stephania Bell but hotter), who signed an exclusive deal with The Machine this offseason (we pay in beer).  Dr. Mike will periodically chime in with important, need to know injury updates and status reports.  He’ll use fancy doctor words (I love it when you say corticosteroid injection) but he’ll also give you the knowledge you need to dominate your league.  First up on Dr. Mike’s exam table, Arian Foster.

Everyone knows Adrian Peterson is the number one fantasy pick this year, but who is number 2?  The general consensus thus far has been Arian Foster.  Picking Foster #2 overall is kind of like picking up the hot (read: easy) chick in the bar a 9:00 PM.  Yeah, there is still plenty of time to find a hotter (read: easier) girl, but taking this one is a sure thing.  Not a bad philosophy for fantasy drafting, or for a Friday night.  Over the past week, however, this has changed. 

Foster is still a hot chick, but now may have an STD.  Even though he’s still attractive, you could feel the burn for the rest of the season (pun intended).  Foster is suffering from a bout of low back pain that may or may not be related to a calf muscle issue.  Now he is also complaining of pain down his legs.  Up until the past 48 hours everyone has insisted that he will be ready for Week 1.  The latest news reports that he is undergoing corticosteroid injections in his lumbar spine.  Normally this includes 3 injections at least 1 week apart.  Even if the injections are 100% effective (which they rarely are) he will probably not play a single live snap until Week 1.

Foster owners will be praying that his back/calf/legs/body hold up.

Foster owners will be praying that his back/calf/legs/body hold up.

If the reports of leg pain and calf spasms are true, then he is dealing with a nerve impingement.  These are the same symptoms that Gronk and JPP dealt with prior to their offseason surgeries (and all of us G-Men fans saw the effects of back pain on JPP’s performance last season).  The question is what is causing this impingement?  It could be any number of things:  extruded disk, stenosis, or significant degeneration that is causing pressure on a spinal nerve.  None of these are good options for a guy that is about to be tackled 350+ times this season.  In my opinion, Foster is headed for back surgery.  The question is when?  Can it wait until the off season?  Unclear at this point, which is why taking Foster #2 is no longer a sure thing.

The machine that is a RB’s body can only take so much punishment before it has to be repaired or retired.  This is evident by the usual drop-off in production by RB’s the season after they have 370 touches.  Over the past 30 years, only freaks of nature like LaDainian Tomlinson, Eric Dickerson, and Walter Payton are immune.  Every other back that has carried the ball more than 370 times has seen an average of 30% drop off in yards (including 4 that tore their ACL’s and 6 that ended their careers.)  This does not bode well for Arian Foster coming into this season.  He is quickly falling down draft boards. 

Dr. Mike’s advice:  Proceed with caution.  I would not touch him in the top half of the first round, but just like your 9:00 PM hookup, sometimes it turns out that STD is just an itch.  If that’s the case, congrats on dodging a bullet.  It’s certainly possible that Foster can shake off the injury bug and live up to expectations, it’s just that he comes with a lot of risk.  If you do draft him, listen to your high school health teacher and stop for condoms on the way home (read: draft Ben Tate for protection).

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