New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham is listed as questionable with plantar fasciitis heading into Week 9’s contest against the New York Jets. Graham practiced on a limited basis on Friday and appears to be ready to play in some capacity on Sunday. Graham has been dealing with this injury for a few weeks now, but was still able to score two TDs last week.
Injury Outlook: Ask anyone who’s ever dealt with plantar fasciitis and their responses should be very consistent: It HURTS. Every step you take, you’re placing increased strain on this highly immobile tissue on the bottom of your foot, causing pain with each step with the possibility of making the already torn fascia even worse.
The plantar fascia is a band of fibrous tissue on the bottom of our feet that stabilize the arch of the foot. Strain is placed on this fascia every time we walk, especially during mid/terminal stance and pre-swing, which is when the fascia is tensed from both ends of its attachments (when your heel is just about to come off the ground and your weight is more on the balls of your feet). The main issue with this fascia is that once it’s torn, it’s very difficult to do anything with feeling like you’re making the tears even worse, as this type of tissue is very inflexibile and doesn’t respond well to over-stretch like regular muscle does.
The interesting part about Graham productivity level is that he played with this injury last week and appeared to be the same threat in the red zone as he always is. This is because there isn’t a ton of running involved when you’re in the red zone, which is exactly what Graham is going to have the hardest time doing. So Graham’s value moving forward will most likely be tied directly to how often the Saints can get into the red zone, as he won’t be extremely effective between the 20’s, limiting his catch and yard totals.
Graham is still technically considered a game time decision, but he seems likely to play. He still retains his top 3 TE value just based on his effectiveness in the red zone, and if the Saints can continue to do a great job in managing his symptoms and limiting any flare ups, he should be able to play the rest of the season with this injury and push surgery to the offseason.
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