Groin Pains for Murphy

Exploring why Trent Murphy’s groin injury isn’t healed yet & what this means for the rest of preseason.

As the local media continues to find story lines to report on, injuries are always an easy topic to report because it usually affects the quality of play on the field for that particular game and can affect the season as a whole. New Bills DE Trent Murphy is no exception. As detailed in past posts, he is coming off an ACL tear that caused him to miss the entire 2017 season. Unfortunately, Murphy has not been able to show off the talents that scored him a new contract due to a groin strain suffered a week into training camp. Today’s post will explore why Murphy is slowed with his groin and how it’ll affect him the rest of the preseason.

Previous posts have explored muscle strains including severity and general healing times. Murphy’s groin is no exception. The groin muscles are also known as adductor muscles. They attach from the pubic region of the hips and go down to the inside portion of the femur or thigh bones. These muscles allow the leg to adduct/cross midline and medially/laterally the femur rotate based on hip position. They also assist with hip flexion; all of these motions assist with running/cutting/juking motions required of football players.

We know that Murphy tore his left ACL last year and has worked steadily back into athletic shape. As for his groin injury, regrettably, I have unable to find which side of his groin he has injured as media reports do not specify. Overall, this won’t really affect recovery time but may shed light on how his body is compensating following the surgery. It’s possible that both sides are injured but we are unsure. He wasn’t able to really participate in OTA’s due to his recovery from the ACL surgery. Since then, he has been cleared for full practice but is still attempting to overcome a full year of restricted activity due to rehab. Normal population may have an ACL reconstruction and not deal with injuries with returning to sport, but as a high level athlete in the case of Murphy, small deficits can become bigger detriments as he asks the most out of his body. Despite being functionally strong enough for football, his body is still relearning the proprioceptive movements required for the position and this is most likely the reason why he is suffering other injuries because the hips/groin and ankle are having to compensate for the knee as he regains his football abilities. A quick refresher, proprioception is the ability to understand where your body is in space in relation to movement. Think of your leg like a chain in which each link is the ankle, knee, and hip. If there is a weak link in the chain, it will break. Same thing can happen in people, if one joint is injured or weak, others begin compensating and may cause further injury.

What does this mean for Murphy going forward? I believe he will eventually be able to play without restrictions by the time the regular season starts. It appears as though he initially suffered a Grade 1 strain which can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks to heal after injury, with some taking up to 3 weeks. This is supported by the fact that he first reportedly sustained the injury August 1st, which is 2 weeks ago today. As stated above, it normally takes 1-2 weeks to heal under normal circumstances. I believe Murphy felt as he was able to return to practice after a week, re-injured going full speed and will require further rest. He will probably need another 1-2 weeks max to fully recover. While teams do want their athletes to heal fully, re-injuries still occur. The big question is whether that timeline for recovery restarted or this is a minor setback. I personally believe this is a minor setback but allows other guys including DE Shaq Lawson to get more looks and earn their way onto the roster.

He will most certainly miss the Browns game, should be able to play against the Bengals game if practice goes well, and ideally have no issues and be available for the Bears game. There is a possibility this could linger all season, but considering this is the preseason, the Bills will allow for extra rest time over return to play.

I expect Murphy to start against the Ravens on opening day. I’m going to also state that this won’t be an issue that lingers all season. I also believe that Murphy may have a slow start to the season and come on later in the second half as his body re-acclimates to football. I may be totally wrong on everything as this is only speculation, but this is highly educated speculation. However, I fully believe Murphy should be ready to go soon.

Continue to check back for the latest updates on the latest injury news and updates. Follow on Twitter @BangedUpBills, on Facebook at Banged Up Bills, online at www.bangedupbills.com, and on reddit at u/BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!

Lawson’s Gimpy Groin

Assessing Shaq Lawson’s latest injury and impact for Sunday’s showdown against the Atlanta Falcons.

It was reported that Shaq Lawson injured his groin in practice Thursday and is now a game time decision for Sunday against Atlanta. Lawson has been on a tear this season in limited action, totaling 10 tackles, 2 sacks, nearly equaling his output from last year. He has begun to live up to draft expectations coming out of Clemson in 2016 and is a reason why the Bills defense has returned to top form this season.

As Lawson is a game time decision on Sunday, it would be better to understand what a groin injury is and how it affects his play. The groin is a series of muscles that attach from the lower hip in the hip crease to the inside portion of the thigh. These muscles assist in bringing the leg to midline, flexing the hip up, and internally/externally rotating the hip. These actions are vital to the actions of the defensive end with regards to shuffling, running, and pivoting. This is typically seen when trying to run down a player or having to stop suddenly. This can also be seen during eccentric contraction of the adductors which is seen during blocking and shuffling along the line.

groin_injuries.jpgIllustration 1: Credit: physioworks.com.au

Lawson reports that his groin is sore and that he will be alright. Despite a positive outlook from Lawson, it is still beneficial to understand how the groin is injured. Typically, the groin muscles are injured when the individual is sprinting or changing directions quickly. As this is a soft tissue injury, there are various grades that the muscle strain can be broken down into to assess severity based on location and mechanism of injury.

Grade 1 involves an injury to the area due to overloading the area, causing microtears and weakening the anchor point, causing pain and inflammation. This is usually a week-to-week injury and if rehabbed properly, should not be an issue long term. The injury typically is seen more in the muscle belly, which is the meaty portion of the muscle. Pain may be felt in the inner thigh or in the groin itself if the muscle is overloaded.

Grade 2 involves a partial tear to the muscle belly or attachment point leading to an inability to walk normally, much less perform the duties of the position. This injury takes longer, anywhere from 4-8 weeks based on severity and must be managed conservatively. Typically, injuries closer to the attachment points can become more chronic and lead to extended time missed. This is due to the nature of the muscle having to pull on the anchor in order to function properly. If the anchor point is not secure, pain and ineffective use of the muscle continue to occur.

Grade 3 typically involves tearing of the attachments closer to the femur, which is known as the distal insertion points. Commonly, the muscle is torn partially or fully away from the bone, leading to surgical intervention. These type of injuries do not happen often, but as with any muscle injury, can occur.

It is not known what caused Lawson’s injury, but it is certainly significant enough to cause him to be a game time decision. I believe that Lawson’s groin injury is a Grade 1, supported by the remark that it is sore and that he will be alright. An athlete knows his body best and barring any re-injury during warm ups, should play Sunday. There is always the risk to increase the severity by playing through, but with proper stretching and warm ups, along with the continued limited snap count, Lawson should be fine. Considering that Lawson has been playing up to the level we expected when drafted, it will be beneficial to have him pressuring Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense. This is a winnable game if the Bills play to the level they did last week against a very good Broncos team. Continue to check back for updates and further analysis regarding Bills injuries, GO BILLS!!