With no high-profile injuries to players at skilled positions this week, we bring you an update on the status and likely return to play for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. Dez suffered a right 5th metatarsal fracture, commonly referred to as a Jones fracture, during the Cowboys’ week 1 win over the New York Giants (video and more information here).
Jones fracture (not Dez Bryant’s)
The base of the 5th metatarsal can be a particularly difficult bone to heal. This is due to the area’s poor blood supply as well as the huge amount of force transmitted through the area, especially with running, jumping and cutting. The day after the injury he underwent a surgical procedure that was reported to include internal fixation with hardware as well as a bone graft. Given current surgical procedures, the graft was most likely a marrow aspirate with demineralized bone matrix injected at the fracture site. This is essentially used to speed up healing and increase the likelihood that the fracture with heal completely. In most cases, a bone graft is used when a fracture has been recurrent or chronic in nature. However, it is very likely that they are treating this as aggressively as possible to allow for the quickest return to play possible.
Jones Fracture Repair (Not Dez Bryant’s)
A recently published study followed 25 NFL players from their surgery through return to play. The study found that 100% of players returned to full participation and 12% of them ultimately refractured their 5th metatarsal and required a revision surgery. The time from surgery to return to play was between 6 and 14 weeks, with the average being 8.7 weeks.
Dez is undoubtedly receiving excellent care as he rehabilitates this injury. He is likely undergoing joint mobilization, stretching, strengthening, stability and balance training and quite possibly trigger point dry needling in an effort to regain range of motion and full function.
Given recent data on Jones fractures amongst NFL players, along with the demands put on the foot of a wide receiver such as Dez Bryant, The Therapydia PTs believe this will be a fairly lengthy recovery.
Prediction: Dez Bryant misses just over 10 weeks and returns to face the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, November 26th.