Analyzing/speculating on the lingering ankle injury and how it impacts Glenn’s performance
Cordy Glenn injured his ankle in the preseason of 2016 and has been dealing with the injury ever since. Due to the rigors of the NFL schedule, it is common to deal with nagging injuries that never fully heal during the season. However, due to the Bills ongoing playoff drought, Glenn has not seen the post season since joining the team which means that Glenn has extra time to rehab his ankle. It has been nearly a year since his original injury and yet he still has not returned to full health according to reports. High ankle sprains can fully heal without complication typically, but in Glenn’s case, it continues to be an ongoing issue.
Usually, high ankle sprains require 6 weeks to heal, but can take longer depending on the severity of the sprain. A sprain occurs when the ligaments that stabilizes the connections between the bones becomes damaged which results in instability and an inability of the joint to function properly. In the case of a high ankle sprain, the top of the fibula, the bone that connects on the outside part of the leg near the knee to the tibia via the syndesmotic ligaments, becomes damaged. This is due to stress being placed on the outside part of the ankle, higher than where an individual would roll the foot under during a true ankle sprain. Stresses at a higher level either forces the higher portion of the fibula to pull away from the tibia, causing a sprain. If the foot is fixed into place and the force is great enough, the fibula can break. These forces during the injury are typically seen as external rotation, also known as outward twisting of the foot. Considering the movement of the guard position, plus the 300 lb. bodies falling on top of each other into a massive heap explains why he injured the ankle in the first place. Glenn was placed in a walking boot to stabilize the initial injury and appeared to heal enough to start Week 1 of the NFL season. Glenn then re-injured it during the season opener which caused him to miss the next 3 games. Most likely Glenn originally sustained a Grade 2 injury leading him to sit out the preseason, re-aggravating the injury to a possible Grade 3 later on. Glenn was able to play the rest of the season, missing several games, but clearly not at 100%.
With Grade 3 sprains, the presentation is where the ligament has ruptured, in which the attachment has completely torn or has become so damaged that it can no longer provide effective support. If Glenn did sustain a Grade 3 sprain, surgery is usually recommended, though not always a given. There has been no reports out stating that Glenn had surgery to stabilize the ankle, but considering he is still dealing with the injury, it is quite possible it was not publicly disclosed. The healing time can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months depending on severity of injury. Considering that the Bills season ended at the end of December and that he was not a full participant for OTA’s, the timeline would fit as to why he is not at full health.
Another possibility is that Glenn may also be dealing with chronic ankle instability. This is the result of a recurrent injury leading to deficits in posture control, proprioception, muscle reaction time, and strength leading to a delayed recovery time. This is also more likely due to the demands of the offensive lineman position. Most actions require strategic blocking performing lateral shifting, re-positioning his stance, and driving forward to maintain balance and power required for the position. Rehab for this involves significant focus on balance retraining on the involved foot, progressive loading, and bracing.
Based on the available reports published, it is possible that it is either one of the two scenarios. Both have positive outcomes, but does explain why Glenn is not at 100%. As of August 4th, Glenn is still continuing to deal with potentially the same issues. He has been held out of practice, citing “foot soreness”. It was reported that he went to Charlotte, NC to see Dr. Robert Anderson, a nationally known physician specializing in foot and ankle injuries. Glenn has since returned to practice since the evaluation. While this is continually frustrating being a Bills fan; as a professional, I would rather have the athlete ensure that they are at 100%. At this level, it is not wise to ignore nagging pain, soreness, or small injuries that can lead to further complications down the line. Expect him to be limited in the preseason so as not to aggravate the healing injury. Ideally, Glenn returns to full health for Week 1 and stay healthy to provide effective blocking for the offense to perform at its best.
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