First let me provide some information on the ambiguous "turf toe". Turf toe is a sprain of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, or the point where the ball of the foot meets the big toe. Turf toe is usually caused from either jamming the toe, or pushing off repeatedly when running or jumping causing a hyperextension of the joint and a slight tear in the MTP capsule (ligament).
The most common complaint is pain at the base of the toe, but patients may also have symptoms of stiffness and swelling. More severe tears can lead to dislocation of the big toe or broken bones in the foot.
How does this hurt a guy like Fast Willie. Well how about the fact that the MTP carries up to twice the load of each of the other four metatarsals and carries more than 3 times the body weight during propulsion. Or how about how often a RB gets his foot stepped on or contorted during an average game. Imagine the pain of attempting to make a quick cut on the bad foot. Add in the fact that Willie Parker is a speed back already trying to rediscover his rhythm from a leg injury from last season and this could put the nail in the coffin for WP’s career in Pittsburgh.
I actually chose that pic because of the cutting, look at the plant foot and tell me what that would be like with turf toe. I am not saying he won’t get his carries for as long as he is healthy this season, but with his already amenic 3.1 ypc down from a still not so impressibe 3.8 ypc last season and the slow decline may have turned into a complete drop in production. To give you an idea of what type of effect this injury can have, LT had turf toe last year and only averaged 3.8 ypc after a career average of 4.5 ypc on his previous 2365 carries in his first 7 seasons. And he averages 4.7 ypc in 2007 and 5.2 in 2006, much higher that Parkers’s averages those years.
This week is make it or break it for Rashard Mendenhall. I don’t see Parker being active for the game and expect Mendy to get 18-22 carries/receptions to about 8-10 for MeMo. After last week’s debacle (you get paid how much to not take practice serious and learn your assignments, who do you think you are Allen Iverson, "We talkin’ ‘bout practice")
If Mendy breaks 100 yards rushing, Willie will be "given" as much time as needed to recover fully for later in the season. If he fails, Mendy will be done after the season unless he becomes Jim Brown during next offseason (edit clarification...I don't think the Steelers will cut him, just he will not be pushed toward the starter position without injuries to other backs), and MeMo will be forced to carry the load, something he did well in spot starts last year. With Memo’s style, we will see much more of the No Huddle and less off-tackle, although off tackle has in the past two seasons been the RB bouncing off the tackle into the tackler anyways.
Allen Iverson talks about PRACTICE. (via Blayvis)
Where does Isaac Redman fit in, if anywhere. First, if Mendenhall chokes in this gift after last week, I feel even the football Gods will give up on him and the Steelers will have to immediately reevaluate how "Fast" Willie can heal. If they don’t think he will be able to perform by the week 8 bye week, I think they will have to place him on IR and call up Redman. This does not mean Redman will be starting, just they won’t be relying on Mendy and will want to see what the kid can do before going outside the organization. For those of you that think he was not in football shape during the preseason and is therefore not ready, it has been over a month, if the kid isn’t in shape yet, he would already have been cut from the Practice Squad. They can always send him back down if he fails. If Mendy succeeds, Wilie may be in even more danger of staying on the roster until at least the bye, if they don’t think he can contribute after, he will go on the IR and they will give Redman a chance to show what he can do throughout the season in spot work and scrub time. I think nothing will happen until at least Tuesday, but if Willie goes on IR and Redman is called up, we may see the prompt return of Ra’shon "Sonny" Harris to the PS. Not a bad trade off in some people’s opinion, although I would rather have Willie healthy. Here's to hoping Mendy succeeds so the 2008 Draft class doesn't mar the overall great record of Colbert and make Tomlin's second draft look like it was a Cleveland Browns draft.