We all know that Dwight Freeney will still play in the Super Bowl despite suffering a "bad" ankle sprain. This morning John Clayton was freaking me out with his discussion of Freeney's ankle. Apparently Dwight does not have a high ankle sprain which can be very nagging, but Clayton kept emphazing that he had a bad ankle sprain that would sideline him if the Super Bowl was being played this coming up Sunday.
However, you all may be wondering how is it that Freeney has a such a bad sprain, but he'll be okay in less than two weeks? Remember that Freeney is a fast healer who tries many techniques to speed up the healing process of his injuries, but most importanlty, Freeney is probably the most motivated player in the entire league when it comes to health. It's very hard to break that man's spirit!
First let's take a look at what we know from Dwight's injury and how it occured:
1. It happened during the 4th quarter when Freeney was rushing Mark Sanchez.
2. It appears that Freeney to some sort of awkward step during that play which he most likely rolled his ankle.
3. Freeney appeared to be walking gingerly to the sidelines without a serious limp and with no assistance from the Colts' training staff.
4. Freeney remained on the sidelines for the remainder of the game and did not head back to the locker room like he did Week 3 against the Arizona Cardinals where he suffered a quadriceps strain.
5. There was no report that Freeney had or will have a MRI on his ankle.
Now it's time to do the research on what grade of a sprain Freeney has. I will use the the same handy websites that Dr. Blue's other assistant, Dr. Cass, used to diagnose Freeney's quadriceps strain. Since I don't recall hearing Freeney himself speak about his injury, I will have to make assumptions based on what I saw during the game.
From this site we see that Freeney was able to most of weight on his ankle since he walked without any assistance during the game, but it most likely gotten worse as the day went on. We all know he experience some pain, but most likely just mild pain since I did not notice any grimace look on his face as his left the field (or maybe he was putting on a show?).
Let's look at the symptoms for a Grade 1 ankle sprain:
Some stretching or perhaps minor tearing of the lateral ankle ligaments. Little or no joint instability. Mild pain. There may be mild swelling around the bone on the outside of the ankle. Some joint stiffness or difficulty walking or running.
In the bold print are the symptoms I visually saw or are just pure assumptions. These symptoms do not see too bad, so now let's check out the symptoms that classify a Grade 2 ankle sprain:
Moderate tearing of the ligament fibres. Some instability of the joint. Moderate to severe pain and difficulty walking. Swelling and stiffness in the ankle joint. Minor bruising may be evident.
Freeney appeared to have none of these symptoms Sunday, but injuries can get worse as time goes on. Finally, Grade 3:
Total rupture of a ligament. Gross instability of the joint. Severe pain initially followed later by no pain. Severe swelling. Usually extensive bruising.
I highly doubt Freeney ruptured a ligament or loss feeling in his lower leg, so I guess will can eliminate Grade 3.
Next are the recovery time for a Grade 1 and a Grade 2 ankle sprain:
Grade 1 sprains usually take one to two weeks to heal completely. Grade II sprains can take up to six weeks...On average, count on a two- to four-week healing period for any significant sprain.
My diagnosis: Grade 1 ankle sprain
Treatment for an ankle sprain will consist of the classic RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
Likelihood of returning to the field: 100% by the Super Bowl (Duh!)