NY Giants’ Hakeem Nicks sidelined with fractured foot

31 May

I’m going to show my colors now – I was disappointed to learn that Wide Receiver Hakeem Nicks of the Giants broke the 5th Metatarsal in his foot last Thursday and may be sidelined through the season opener against Dallas. In the 2011 season, Nicks caught 76 passes for 1,192 yards and 7 touchdowns.

The fifth metatarsal is the bone that runs from the midfoot to the base of the small toe. The end of the fifth metatarsal is easily spotted-it’s the bump over the outside of the midfoot. This is the part of the bone most prone to injury.

hakeem nicks giants

Hakeem Nicks tries to break a tackle by Eagle Dimitri Patterson

The rumor in the Giants online forums is that Nicks suffered a “Jones Fracture” which is the hardest fracture of the 5th Metatarsal to heal, because blood flow is lowest at that point of the bone.

Nicks flew to his hometown of Charlotte North Carolina last Friday for the surgery, where Doctors stabilized the metatarsal by inserting a surgical screw. They also performed a bone graft, which is a surgical procedure that places new bone or a replacement material into spaces around the broken bone to speed healing and reduce the possibility of a second break to that area.

In this kind of fracture, the metatarsal must be stabilized, as the tendon connecting to it pulls against it with every step.

5th metatarsal with surgical screw xray

x-ray of surgical screw inserted in 5th metatarsal

Nicks’ prognosis

Hakeem’s rehab will mostly likely include a surgical boot to immobilize the foot, walking on crutches for a few weeks and then possibly using a bone growth stimulator, much like the one Maria Menounos from Dancing With The Stars used earlier this year. He’ll also be keeping his foot elevated as much as possible.

As of now, the official prognosis from the Giant’s coaching staff is for a twelve week rehab which I believe is right on schedule. That does mean however that Nicks won’t play against Dallas in the season opener September 5. But when Nicks was asked if he’ll be in the game, he replied “I don’t have any doubt.”

I admire Nicks’ ambition, but if he wants to be in the season opener, he’ll have to be vigilant with his rehab, as the 5th Metatarsal is notorious for inconsistent healing and re-fracture. The bone grafting will certainly help speed things along, but if Nicks pushes too hard, he stands a good chance of re-fracturing the bone, which would put him on the sidelines for most of the regular season. That indeed would be very bad news.

Nicks will also have to avoid a cascade injury – an injury to a previously unaffected part of the body – as he gets back into football shape. Muscle and tendon strains are common as players try to return to their previous level of play before being fully conditioned. Those final 2-3 weeks of Nicks’ rehabilitation will be critical.

Giants training camp begins in Albany on July 26th, and stepping into Nicks’ place there will be Rueben Randle, Domenik Hixon, and Jerrel Jernigan.

What do you think? Will Hakeem Nicks be missed? Will Randle or Hixon take over Nicks’ position?

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