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Braden Smith’s hip injury: Speculating on the type, severity, and Smith’s expected return

Colts’ tackle Braden Smith sat out against the Jaguars due to a hip injury. Here’s a deep dive into the hip flexor injury, its impact on NFL offensive linemen, and the potential recovery path.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Stampede Blue’s injury story series aims solely for education, drawing from reported incidents or speculating based on prevalent NFL injuries. Unless explicitly mentioned, we don’t claim access to any player’s confidential medical details or confirm injury specifics.

Braden Smith missed today’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with what is listed as a hip injury. While the injury reports didn’t specify, Smith may be grappling with a hip flexor injury.

What is the Hip Flexor Injury, and Why is it Likely in Braden’s Case?

The hip flexor is a group of muscles that work together to flex the hip joint. These muscles are vital for movements in football, and given the nature of his position, it’s no surprise that Smith, like many other offensive linemen, might be prone to this injury.

The causes for hip flexor injuries among linemen include repetitive forceful movements like pushing off during a snap, sudden explosive movements when blocking, inadequate warm-ups, and existing muscle imbalances.

Degrees of Hip Flexor Injury:

  1. Grade 1 (Mild): Minor strain with 1-3 weeks recovery time.
  2. Grade 2 (Moderate): More extensive damage with a 3-6 weeks healing period.
  3. Grade 3 (Severe): Full muscle tear that could sideline a player for several months.

Since Smith suffered his injury in practice and the team hasn’t made a bigger deal of the announcement than that he would miss today’s game, there’s reason to be optimistic that he might be dealing with a milder form of the injury — which is also the most common. However, without an official diagnosis, it remains speculation.

The Road to Recovery:

Recovery from a hip flexor injury typically starts with the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Physical therapy, which includes stretching and strengthening exercises, is gradually introduced as the injury begins to heal. The aim is to restore total flexibility and strength to the hip region. Advanced treatments like ultrasound therapy or corticosteroid injections might be needed in severe cases.

How Common are Hip Flexor Injuries among Offensive Linemen?

It’s no secret that offensive linemen in the NFL are prone to various injuries, given the nature of their role. Over the years, hip flexor injuries have been a recurring theme. The constant need for explosive strength and speed, coupled with their size, puts immense pressure on their hips.

Another reason for tentative optimism is that no specific data indicates that hip flexor injuries or recurring issues have led to shortened NFL careers. Of course, Colts fans saw with Andrew Luck that repeated injuries that include pain, healing, recovery, and rehabilitation can take a toll on a player’s longevity in the league.

Braden Smith’s absence in today’s game serves as a reminder of the physical demands placed on NFL players. While Colts fans hope for a swift recovery for Smith, understanding the nature and implications of such injuries offers a deeper appreciation for the challenges these athletes face on and off the field.