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Injury Analysis: DeMarco Murray and Trent Richardson

DeMarco Murray
The Cowboys running back was off to a great start in Week 6, rushing for 90 yards in the first half. Unfortunately an injury to his left foot ended his day early and will likely affect his availability for Week 7. Murray underwent several medical tests including an x-ray and MRI that revealed ligament damage in the foot. Fortunately they also revealed all the bones of the foot are intact and that the injury is not to the Lisfranc joint. Another small silver lining can be found in the fact that the injury occurred to the foot opposite his surgically repaired right ankle.

Still foot sprains remain problematic as the integrity of the foot is compromised. Each ligament stabilizes a specific aspect of the foot to insure the multiple bones here remain in place. A sprain to any one of these can cause pain with pushing off and make running difficult and painful. The Cowboys have already stated Murray will not suit up against the Panthers and hinted it may cost him several other starts.

Felix Jones will become the primary back again and looked surprisingly spry against Baltimore. He finished with 92 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. Jones lost the starting job to Murray last season after suffering an injury of his own. He reported to camp out of shape and failed the team's first physical test. However he seems to have shed the extra weight and rediscovered his quickness, making him must add in all formats.

Trent Richardson
Another hard-nosed running back made an early exit Sunday when Richardson left his team's win over Cincinnati following a blow to the midsection. The initial reports described the situation as a "flank" injury, meaning the injury occurred to the region between the chest and upper portion of the hips. Further testing done Monday revealed a rib cartilage injury on his right side. While he appears to have avoided serious injury the current ailment should not be taken lightly.

The rib cage is made up of 12 pairs of ribs that attach to the sternum, the thoracic vertebrae of the spine, and a specialized type of connective tissue known as costal cartilage. The costal cartilages of ribs 1 through 7 attach to the sternum while the remaining cartilage connects indirectly. Damage to the area causes specific and sharp pain often described as a stabbing sensation. The injury often causes pain with breathing, sneezing, and trunk movement.

The Browns are cautiously optimistic that Richardson will be able to play against the Colts but closely monitor his participation in practice before committing to him in Week 7. Even if he does play he would likely require a protective flak jacket that would enlarge the bulk of the midsection increasing the likelihood of a fumble. Montario Hardesty will likely see a boost in his workload and looked solid filling in for Richardson. He finished with 56 rushing yards and a score on 15 carries. If you own Richardson pick up Hardesty as suitable insurance.

Pierre Garcon
Some light is finally being shed on Garcon's foot injury as the Redskins have revealed the receiver is suffering from capsulitis in the second toe of his right foot. Capsulitis occurs when the joint capsule, a multilayered envelope that surrounds certain joints, becomes inflamed. Capsulitis in the foot can be extremely painful and can actually lead to foot deformities if they remain untreated. Garcon's situation is complicated by the location of the injury as the second metatarsal bears a significant amount of weight.

The Redskins have stated Garcon's primary issue is with pain tolerance and said they will be overly cautious moving forward. The insertion of an orthotic into the shoe can help but if the inflamed area is pushed too much, the risk of the capsule rupturing increases. Don't count on Garcon playing much in the next few weeks as the team provides him ample time to rest and receive treatment.

Turf Burns

Jahvid Best
Best's career remains in limbo after doctors would not clear the third-year running back to return to football activities. Best has not played since October 16 of last season when he suffered his second concussion in eight weeks. His medical history goes even further back after he suffered a well-documented concussion while in college at Cal. He will continue to work with the Detroit medical staff but will not return this season. Best has stated on multiple occasions he will not consider retirement at this point but he may be required to focus on life after football.

Kevin Kolb: A rib injury forced Kolb from the final minutes of Arizona's loss to Buffalo. The team is awaiting the results of a MRI after x-rays failed to uncover any fractures to the ribs or sternum. John Skelton, back after suffering an ankle injury, would regain the starting job he lost to Kolb.

Ray Lewis and Ladarius Webb: The Ravens defense took a big hit in Week 6, losing Lewis and Webb to season-ending injuries. Lewis suffered a torn triceps and will need surgery while Webb suffered the second torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of his career. Without Lewis and Webb, the suddenly porous Baltimore defense is no longer a must start. They surrendered a franchise worst 227 rushing yards to the Cowboys one week after giving up 214 rushing yards to the Chiefs.

Jake Locker: Locker will not play against the Bills in Week 7 as he continues to rehab his injured non-throwing shoulder. Locker has made progress and he seems poised to return in Week 8 against the Colts. In the meantime, Matt Hasselbeck will remain the starter.

Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman: Mendenhall appears to have avoided serious injury after leaving the team's loss to Titans with an Achilles strain. The injury is considered minor and the extra days off should allow for him to play this week. However his already elevated injury risk gets kicked up a notch with this latest setback. Redman should also be available after suffering an ankle injury in the same game.

Jeff Stotts is a Certified Athletic Trainer, MAT, PES and the Injury Analyst for You can follow him on twitter @RotoWireATC.