Injury Update: Stefen Wisniewski
Dr. Nick Chicoine – Aug 23, 2012
Stefen Wisniewski left the preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys with a calf injury. This injury was initially diagnosed as a deep bruise and has been down played since its onset. Contusions (Bruises) are second only to strains as a leading cause of sports injuries.
Most contusions are minor and heal quickly, without the athlete even having to leave the game. But, severe contusions can cause deep tissue damage, they can lead to complications and can potentially keep an athlete out of sports for months. Unfortunately I deleted the game off my DVR so I’m unable to determine the mode of onset to this injury, however given the information disclosed; and some help from the twitter-verse to bring this to my attention (Thanks @PugetZulu); it is very possible that Wiz has a torn calf muscle.
In order to distinguish between a bruise and a tear, you’d have to know how the injury happened. Did Wiz take a helmet to the calf, or did he feel a sharp pain while getting out of his stance? If it was a helmet, or some sort of blunt trauma, it’s likely the injury is a bruise. If it was caused by his own explosiveness, it’s likely a tear.
When a muscle is torn, the injured area bruises because of internal bleeding. This was evident in 2011 when Arian Foster posted his MRI of a torn hamstring on twitter. Foster went on to point out the bleeding on the back side of his leg and refer to it as “Anti-awesomeness.” So even if the injury is a tear, the Raiders organization technically isn’t lying when they call it a “bruised calf.”
When you take into consideration..
1) Wiz came out of the game playing only one series, indicating a sudden injury.
2) The Raiders have an entirely new blocking scheme and Wiz needs the reps.
3) Wiz’s proved he has no problem playing through the pain in 2011 when he played the entire season with a torn labrum in his shoulder.
4) Wiz has sat out every practice since the injury.
…you have to assume this is a fairly serious injury, and likely a tear. The Black and Silver lining to this, is regardless of whether it is officially a bruise or a tear, the treatment is the same for both. To control pain, bleeding, and inflammation, treatment consists of keeping the muscle in a gentle stretch position and use the PRICE formula (Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate).
The “Calf” muscle is actually made up of 2 muscles called the Soleus (So-Lee-Us), and the Gastrocnemius (Gas-trock-knee-me-us). The Gastrocnemius is the muscle that is typically injured because of its proximity to the skin. The calf is responsible for raising the heel during weight bearing activity, and this is why “playing through the pain” is a bad idea with this type of injury. Forcing Wiz to play too soon will only further the injury and prolong the healing process.
A calf tear prognosis is determined according to its grade, and considering Wiz is not having surgery, his injury is at worst a grade 2 tear. Grade 2 tears can take 4-6 weeks to heal, plus the time it takes to get back into football shape. Wisneiwski’s injury took place on August 13th, while the season opener is on September 10th against the Chargers. I expect Wiz to be back anywhere from week 1 to week 3. Dennis Allen had this to say regarding Wisniewski’s injury:
If we weren't in the regular season could he push through and play? Probably. Maybe. I don't know. We're not going to take that chance right now in a preseason game.
Wisniewski is a vital piece of the offensive line. Luckily for the Oakland Raiders, the next man up, although not as talented as Wiz, has been in competition with him since the first day of training camp for the starting position. Alex Parsons may not be the best center on the roster, but he knows the offense just as well as any. With Wiz’s injury lingering like a fart in an elevator, Parsons will have to show that he has what it takes to be a sufficient back up in the NFL this week against the Lions. If Parsons struggles, it will be evident.
There is still plenty of time for Wiz to get healthy, and luckily this type of injury isn’t one that typically lingers long into the season. Wiz is a competetor, and right now he is only sidelined because he has to be.
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