News that Vince Biegel had foot surgery to repair a Jones fracture has many in Packer Nation wondering if the team is in for a “same ole, same ole” season riddled with injuries. The possibility of Biegel not being available for training camp has ramifications for his overall development in a season where the outside linebacker position appears to be the possible achilles heel. But what is a “Jones fracture”? Let’s break it down:
The Jones fracture is also known as a fifth metatarsal fracture. For those of us who had to memorize major bones in Middle School, this will sound vaguely familiar. Basically, the fifth metatarsal is the bone that connects to the pinkie toe. It runs along the outside of the foot and is, therefore, vulnerable quite literall on “the cutting edge” for athletes. The injury occurs at the base of the bone and can feel quite a bit like an ankle sprain but is more serious. Here is a list of symptoms:
- Pain on the outside mid-foot
- Pain or pressure when walking
- Weight-bearing difficulty
- Chronic ache on outside mid-foot
Causes of the Jones fracture are “overuse and repetitive stress or trauma” and as a linebacker, Biegel, by nature of his position, would tend to overuse and stress the outsides of his feet as the outside foot is the cutting foot. But what is the cause of this particular injury? Obviously, it stems from use during his college years, but when did the injury happen that required surgery? Was this fracture present when the Packers’ medical staff examined Biegel before the draft? Was it fractured during the minimalist rookie orientation? These are questions that may never be answered but Biegel missed two games just last year at Wisconsin due to the same injury. Not the start the Wisconsin native was looking for.
The immediate consequence of the injury is unclear. Reports vary that Biegel is expected to be ready for camp or that he may miss significant time. In the worst case scenario, Biegel misses significant time in training camp and OTA’s which then hampers his overall development. This could be a real problem on a team where the outside linebacker position is already thin and the starters are both injury prone. Ideally, Biegel would not be called upon early and often anyway and would have a chance to develop. But with the injury, Biegel would not be able to practice, slowing his development down even more.
In terms of the team, as mentioned, the linebacker position is thin. But Packer Nation has not forgotten previous injury-ridden years. The team overall needs to remain relatively healthy for (especially) the defense to take the step forward necessary to get to the next level. This surgery, while it is good that Biegel can get it out of the way now…is concerning.
The last Wisconsin Badger that Ted Thompson drafted saw his career end due to injury as well. Jared Abbrederis hardly saw playing time and was rarely available for the Packers. It is hard not to draw a correlation between one Badger and the next with the hyper-sensitivity to the injury situation. Many Wisconsinites were very excited when the Packers drafted Abby…they were likely more excited when the Packers drafted Biegel. Biegel’s surgery will be news…until it disappears into the void of availability and great play on the field.
While it is not time to panic and everything still remains to be seen on Vince Biegel, not just in terms of his injury, but in terms of how good of a player he will be in the end, Packer Nation can’t help but be concerned about another Jones fracture to Biegel. We have seen availability cut short another Badger’s career, and we have watched injuries tear the Packers’ defense apart. This will be a story that won’t go away until Biegel is out on the field making plays for the Packers.