Jamaal Charles and Malcolm Floyd Suffer "Sprains", What Does it Mean?

Sprain vs Strain? What you can learn from Jamaal Charles and Malcolm Floyd


The AFC West was delivered a couple of big blows on Monday, with Chiefs’ star RB Jamaal Charles suffering a “strained” foot and Chargers’ starting WR Malcolm Floyd “straining” his knee. Both suffered injuries during practice on Monday, but the injuries themselves are the real story.

We’ll start with Charles. Early reports came out stating that he suffered a strain to his right foot during practice, as he was examined by team physicians and carted off as a “precautionary measure”. X-rays were taken shortly after that came back negative. Now, if the implication is that Charles suffered a strain, the X-ray wouldn’t show anything as it only shows injury to bone. An MRI is reportedly scheduled for Tuesday, which is where the majority of our information would come from.

As a refresher, a strain is an injury to muscle or tendon while a sprain is an injury to a ligament. The initial diagnosis of a strain leads us to believe he strained one of the tendons of the ankle muscles or the muscle(s) themselves. However, official diagnosis typically doesn’t occur until imaging such as MRI or CT scan is done, which are very good at implicating the exact structures that are involved. They’re not perfect, but a much better idea about the extent of the injury can be gleaned from these tests.

One fear that’s being bandied about with Charles is that he suffered a ligamentous injury to the midfoot or forefoot, which is commonly called a Lisfranc Injury. There’s nothing in any of the reports that lead us to believe this, but it’s a scary possibility for a guy who is the centerpiece of his offense. Although this is all speculation at this point, we really can’t rule out anything except for an obvious fracture, which would have been picked out on the X-ray.

Stay tuned for details tomorrow after the MRI report comes out, which is when we’ll be able to come up with a specific prognosis. Until then, let’s hope this is a minor deal that limits only his preseason playing time.

Floyd’s case is a bit more peculiar. He suffered an injury during one-on-one drills and went down in a heap. He was reportedly on the ground for around 5 minutes, with teammates kneeling around him as medical staff tended to him. Initial concerns were that he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which would obviously end his season. However, he had an MRI performed Monday night that reportedly diagnosed the injury as a “strained” knee, which again would implicate muscle and/or tendon involvement.

Speculating again, the first thought would be some sort of pathology to the patellar tendon, which is the tendon that connects your quadriceps (thigh) muscle to it’s attachment on the anterior (front) aspect of the tibia (shin bone). The severity of the strain will tell us more about his prognosis, which can range anywhere from a couple weeks (grade 1 strain) to the rest of the season (high grade 2 to grade 3). Keep in mind that there is typically a lot of swelling associated with these types of injuries, so an MRI can sometimes be inconclusive. Floyd is scheduled to undergo more testing on Tuesday.

So, what’s the moral of the story in these two cases? Hopefully the difference between a strain (muscle or tendon injury) and sprain (ligamentous injury) is much more clear now. Secondly, we really don’t know all the details about either case yet and more information will undoubtably come out in the next few days. Stay tuned and hopefully your drafts aren’t until these two cases (Charles’ in particular) are settled one way or another.


Have questions?? Contact Ziad via email at ziad.dahdul@fflockerroom.com

Follow Ziad on Twitter at @z_dahdul for up-to-date injury news and analysis.

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