This is not the kind of news you want to read on a Thursday night.
C Nick Martin suffered a high ankle sprain in practice against the Saints that may cause him 2 miss regular season opener against the Bears.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) August 19, 2016
The projected starting center for the Texans, you'll recall, missed all of last week (including the preseason opener against the 49ers) with a back injury. He returned to the practice field earlier this week, only to now suffer a new injury. Not just any new injury, either, despite Bill O'Brien's initial description of the issue as "not serious."
Nick Martin injury 'not serious' per Bill O'Brien— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 18, 2016
O'Brien says "it's not a knee" with Nick Martin, doesn't believe the injury is serious— Mike Meltser (@MikeMeltser) August 18, 2016
Remember that our friends at SB Nation's site for all things Notre Dame, One Foot Down, mentioned Martin dealing with "nagging injuries" throughout his college career when we talked with them about the Texans' second-round pick immediately after the draft. Even more unfortunate for the Texans is that high ankle sprains aren't a quick fix. From the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society:
As mentioned above, the recovery for high ankle sprains can take considerably longer than typical ankle sprains. In fact, it can take six to seven weeks before athletes return to play. In those cases in which a separation of the tibia and fibula or fracture has occurred and surgery is necessary, patients will likely need to be nonweightbearing in a cast followed by a walking boot for about 12 weeks. It is important to do early range of motion passively, meaning with the help of a therapist that moves the ankle, so help avoid stiffness. The screws are commonly taken out in a second, small surgery before full weightbearing is allowed so they will not break.
No one's talking about separations, fractures, surgery, or casts, but it would seem a "simple" high ankle sprain could force Martin to miss up to seven weeks, which would put him on the shelf for much more than just the season opener against the Bears. Of course, as a professional athlete, Martin will have access to the best medical staff money can buy, so a quicker return to the field is certainly possible.
In the meantime, it looks like Greg Mancz or Tony Bergstrom will be snapping the ball to Brock Osweiler. It also means that Martin joins Duane Brown and Derek Newton as offensive linemen who'll be on the sidelines instead of the Texans' starting lineup when the Saints take the field at NRG Stadium on Saturday night. Many of us were concerned about the offensive line, which was going to feature at least two new starters anyway in the wake of Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks' departures via free agency, having time to gel before the season started; Martin's absence only heightens those fears.
The 2016 NFL regular season starts in three weeks.
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