The Steelers never disappoint when it comes to anxiety. Another heart attack inducing game on the road came down to the final seconds as the Steelers left Indianapolis with a 20-17 win over the Colts.
While not losing the game, the Steelers had a major loss on Sunday, when free agent acquisition, cornerback Joe Haden, went down during a play, clutching his knee. Everyone gasped and prayed it was not an ACL or an injury that was season-ending.
Before getting into the details of Haden's injury, it amazes me how the media and even those close to the situation jump to devastating conclusions without facts and definitive information.
As a medical professional myself, the one key to understanding injuries and how severe they may or may not be is to listen to the language used by the reporting source. In the post press conference of Mike Tomlin, he said, "Joe Haden suffered a fracture of his fibula (calf bone), and they tell me it's high, we'll know more later".
Well after that, every outlet and fan decided to tweet that Haden had "broken his leg" or "Joe Haden broke his fibula".
#Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says that CB Joe Haden broke his fibula and is out indefinitely. Major hit to the secondary.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 12, 2017
Per source, CB Joe Haden suffered a “slight” fracture to his fibula and is only expected to miss 3 weeks. #Steelers
— The Steel Crew (@TheSteelCrew) November 13, 2017
CB Joe Haden has a broken fibula. Can’t imagine how that isn’t a season-ender. There is 3rd round pick Cam Sutton’s roster spot. #Steelers
— David Todd (@DavidMTodd) November 12, 2017
Steelers Joe haden has broken fibula
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) November 12, 2017
Reporting that is irresponsible. If Joe had a bone "break" he would not have been able to return to the game to jog up and down the sidelines, to see if his pain tolerance would allow him to re-enter the game. Yes, he appeared on the sidelines later with a "sleeve type brace support" on his leg with crutches, but again, a break of the fibula is such a severe injury (think snapping in two) that it infers season-ending damage.
The fibula (calf bone) is the smaller of the two leg bones, and when fractured, it is usually from an awkward landing or a rolled ankle. According to Orthopaedic Sports Surgery & Sports Medicine UK Displacement is seldom severe. They are likened to an ankle sprain. When non-displaced (meaning the bone may have cracked, but does not move and maintains its proper alignment), and no ligament involvement, AAOS says healing time is approximately 3-4 weeks and can be less depending on how conditioned the injured party is.
Also, it's important to keep in mind that the fibula is not a weight-bearing bone, so Haden's doctors may allow him to walk on his injured leg while healing. However, it does contribute to ankle stability, so if we see Joe on crutches it is to avoid putting either on the leg until the bone is healed.
To be clear, this is speculative injury until we get more information. Based on the current information we do have, my guesstimate for Haden's return, if the above turns out to be accurate on his injury details, would be six weeks at the latest.
That would be Christmas Day!
Let's hope we have a Merry Christmas for the team and for one of our new favorite players, Joe Haden. He is a game changer and we will most definitely need him heading into postseason.