As training camp begun, the Jets experienced their first casualty with RB Elijah McGuire suffering a fracture foot that will require surgery later this week. It has been reported that he will miss 3-6 weeks however I am very skeptical of that time frame as a fracture takes at least 6-8 weeks for the bone to completely heal. The basics of rehabilitation include facilitating normal walking mechanics, restoring strength, and initiating football-related activities. An additional few weeks could be necessary to improve McGuire’s conditioning level as he is going to miss the entire training camp and preseason.
Once the surgery is performed, McGuire will be placed in a walking boot to stabilize the foot and minimize impact while the bone is healing. The boot will also help minimize swelling which often serves as a limiting factor in the rehabilitation process if that swelling does not reduce quickly. Depending on the surgeon’s preferences, McGuire may be able bear weight on that foot in the boot right away or instructed to use crutches as he keeps that foot off the ground.
When he resumes walking, it is important that McGuire establishes good gait mechanics by landing on heel and rolling onto his toes prior to lifting that leg up and swinging it forward (as the other leg lands and repeats the cycle). He will be slowly weaned off the crutches and boot and transition into wearing normal sneakers again. At this point, the bone should be healed enough to not only begin strength training but also start balance activities. Balance is an underrated aspect of sports performance, allowing a player to very dynamic and fluid without losing control of their body. Towards the end of rehabilitation, power, speed, and agility work is reincorporated only after McGuire demonstrates the appropriate bone healing, stability, mobility, and flexibility in that foot.
Ultimately, I see McGuire missing the first 2-3 weeks of the season and returning late September, of course barring any setbacks and he is not rushed to return.