New Orleans Saints starting TE Jimmy Graham returned to the lineup in Week 8 and, while he did not have the same gaudy stats, did find the end zone against the Buffalo Bills. Graham had been bothered by a previously undisclosed foot injury, which turned out to be a partial tear of the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot.
Injury Outlook: This injury is a good news/bad news type of injury. The good news is that he should be able to play through it assuming he can tolerate some pain and get good rest/management during the week. The bad news is this injury probably will not fully go away until after the season with some prolonged rest and treatment.
The plantar fascia is a band of fibrous tissue on the bottom of the foot that is very inelastic (doesn’t stretch), but provides stability to the structures of the midfoot. When an advanced case of plantar fasciitis develops, microtears actually occur, giving the person a feeling of overstretching and significant pain every time the area is stressed. And this stress will be placed on the area every single time a player walks, runs, jumps, and cuts, regardless of the intensity of the activity.
At the end of the day, Graham’s availability will be determined by his ability to tolerate pain and get enough treatment/rest during the week in order to manage his symptoms and limit the amount of stress being placed on the healing tissue. If you see reports of Graham being placed in a boot or not practicing at all during the week, don’t be alarmed because temporary immobilization and rest are two common and effective ways to conservatively manage plantar fasciitis in-season.
We’ll look for his injury designation this Friday, but my guess is that we’ll know he’s going to play beforehand, but he’s just going to be limited in terms of his mobility and route running for the rest of the season. But as big a red zone target as Graham is and as often as the Saints get in the red zone, he’s still a solid fantasy play moving forward.
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