Your fantasy league is under great duress this week.
High ankle sprains have become an epidemic in the NFL lately. Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs, and Arthur Jones, Khaled Holmes, and Joe Reitz of the Indianapolis Colts are all on the bench with high ankle sprains. Charles and Jones sustained their injuries in games this week, and Holmes and Reitz have been sitting out since pre-season games in August.
How does a high ankle sprain differ from a normal ankle sprain?
In the more common lateral ankle sprain, the ligaments that surround the ankle joint are injured through an inward twisting, causing pain and swelling around the ankle. A high ankle sprain, also known as a syndesmotic sprain, is an injury to the syndesmotic ligaments above the ankle which join the two bones of the lower leg together. A high ankle sprain is caused when the lower leg and foot twists out (externally rotates). See a diagram of a high ankle sprain here.
The tibia (shin bone) and fibula run from the knee down to the ankle. If the injury is a stable high ankle sprain, the tibia and fibula stay in their normal orientation, and the athlete may be out for as little as five or six days.
If the injury is an unstable high ankle sprain, two or all three ligaments above the ankle are torn and the tibia and fibula are free to move. A podiatric surgeon may need to place a screw between the tibia and fibula to hold the bones in proper position while the ligaments heal, and may require the athlete to be sidelined for as long as 6 months(!). High ankle sprains pose a bigger challenge to healing than common ankle sprains, which is why athletic trainers are very cautious about returning an athlete to the lineup too quickly.