Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

25 Oct 2009

On Leon Washington And Fractured Fibulas

Although Leon Washington will miss the remainder of the season after fracturing his fibula during the Jets' Sunday afternoon victory over the Raiders, if the injury ends up being strictly a fractured fibula, Washington should be able to continue his career without a dramatic loss of ability.

The most comparable player to Washington to fracture his fibula is Chargers halfback Darren Sproles, who did so in 2006. Sproles missed that season, but came back and has retained his speed while emerging as a dynamic halfback and returner.

Other halfbacks have returned from a fractured fibula to enjoy success, almost immediately. Dorsey Levens, Derrick Ward, and Ricky Williams each rushed for more than 1000 yards in the season following their injury. Willie Parker fractured his fibula in the 2007 season, and while he wasn't particularly effective during the 2008 season, some of that was due to new injuries and a middling offensive line.

Furthermore, while players like Olandis Gary and Rashaan Salaam had limited careers after their fractured fibulas, each had seen their roles dramatically decline even before the fibula injury.

In our injury database, there's no halfback that saw his role dramatically decline because of a fibula injury. Washington's injury was gruesome, and it might cost him his chance at a long-term deal for this season, but an aggressive team looking for a bargain next season could do worse than ringing Washington up this spring.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 25 Oct 2009

6 comments, Last at 19 Nov 2009, 2:22am by Antique Furniture

Comments

1
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/26/2009 - 12:09am

what difiference beteen broken fibula and fractred one? angthing

2
by AnonymousGuy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/26/2009 - 1:13am

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but "broken" means the bone broke all the way through, while a fracture is a crack in the bone.

3
by johnnyxel :: Mon, 10/26/2009 - 4:41am

"Break" is just a colloquialism for "fracture." What you are thinking of as a "break" is called a "complete fracture," but most "broken bones" are simple fractures.

4
by TheRuns :: Mon, 10/26/2009 - 1:29pm

Agree with johnnyxel - break = fracture. What is interestig here is that I read that it was a compound fracture (bone broke through the skin). More severe than just a major or minor fracture. It still shouldn't make a difference on his ability to fully return though.

5
by CowWithBeef :: Tue, 10/27/2009 - 12:56pm

I actually had my fibula surgically removed about 15 1/2 years ago. I can still run around about as well as I could have with it. The biggest difference is that the leg missing a bone gets a bit more sore than the other when I play sports. Even if his fibula was completely removed, Washington would still be a very good athlete. I think this is why fibula injuries do not have significant long term effects. The bone just isn't very important.

6
by Antique Furniture (not verified) :: Thu, 11/19/2009 - 2:22am

Do we have an idea about the time frame to get back from an injury like this? I know ACLs take a while, but how far into next season before he is 100%?