After Sunday's open practice, BamaMag caught up with Nikki Huffman, who's a Doctor of Physical Therapy at the Atlanta Falcons Physical Therapy Centers. Though Alabama doesn't have any serious injuries to deal with right now—though we aren't sure of Chris Black's current status—she gave some great insight as to why the coaching staff is taking certain precautions with certain players.
Eddie Lacy, turf toe
Nikki Huffman: First of all, turf toe is a catch-all term. You hear it, but not many truly understands what it means. It's a sprain between the connective tissue and the joint of the foot and the big toe which could be caused by overuse, or a single incident. So what happens is the toe becomes hyper-extended, the leg keeps going forward and there's too much forward bending in the toe which sprains the joint.
The problem with players like him is it affects their acceleration, deceleration and cutting. Three weeks it usually takes for the inflammation to come down, return to play is about 3-4 months, but it can take up to 6-12 months for, like in football, a running back that requires a lot of speed and changing directions.
With him during Sunday's practice, I saw him catch one really good pass and accelerate, but it was just a straight motion and he was limited in drills. I saw the staff being pretty attentive to him. Even in drills he did participate in, he just didn't accelerate as quickly as T.J. Yeldon. He did not accelerate as quickly as him and it took him a few steps longer to decelerate at the end. He was also in a non-contact jersey.
It's better to use precaution by the coaching staff and trainers because the season is coming up so fast, you don't want him to re-injure that toe before the season starts. We also noticed he had different shoes on. Those shoes are a lot of times to limit so much forward motion of those toes and give him more stability when he's running and you want him to be ready for the season and not do anything during practice.
Arie Kouandjio, knees
NH: During the individual drills at beginning, he didn't take any reps or participate in those drills at all, but he did in the team drills. He looked a little stiff running. Could be nothing, could be something, but also had a non-contact jersey on.
Blake Sims, hip
NH:Was practicing and going through all the drills. Looked very mobile at quarterback.
Chris Black, shoulder
NH:He was walking fine, but holding his upper torso pretty tightly. (Nick Saban has since confirmed that Black injured his shoulder and his status is "very, very questionable.")
Adrian Hubbard, hamstring
NH:He was getting his hamstring wrapped 20 minutes before practice ended, but was moving well during practice.
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