The downfall of playing against a bash-your-brains-in physical team like the Vikings is the wear and tear on your own team. Earnest Graham left the game early with an apparent ankle injury after just one carry and was spelled by Warrick Dunn and Clifton Smith. Although the team is still running tests and determining the severity of the ankle, the early word is a severe ankle injury, possibly a high ankle sprain, which could jeopardize his return this season. Geno Hayes also left early with a apparent knee injury and Gruden is also questioning his ability to return this season. Crikey.
I've had a high ankle sprain, and it's very tough to recover from quickly. Although I was up and walking without a boot after a couple of weeks, the ankle was weak and I couldn't bend or turn it well for weeks longer. Of course.... I'm no tough football player with access to the best treatment available, but... just sayin'. It's a tough injury, especially for a skill position player.
Look for Dunn to start with Cadillac and Clifton Smith to get some touches. It wouldn't shock me if they went to BJ Askew in short-yardage situations.
In case you missed it, here's Head Coach Jon Gruden on RB Earnest Graham and Rookie LB Geno Hayes statuses at this point:
"Earnest Graham's ankle looks to be a serious injury," Gruden said, "and his status for the rest of the season is very much in question right now." As for Geno; "[his season] could be in jeopardy [as well]" Gruden said. - St. Pete Times
To lose Earnest Graham would be a crushing blow to the season. It wouldnt immediately cripple the team's chances of making the Playoffs, but it certainly makes the road tougher to go down. Graham did a fantastic job becoming The starting running back for this team and he filled in admirably at full back when his number was called:
|2008 - Earnest Graham||9||131||560||62.2||4.3||68||4||23||174||19.3||7.6||24||0|
Warrick Dunn will be tested more than ever now, especially with the way Rookie Clifton Smith continues to cough up the pigskin. This isnt the ideal situation to free up playing time for Carnell Williams, but he's been activated and another running back, Michael Bennett, was sacrificed (aka cut) to make the roster room so Caddy should certainly get some reps, potentially as early as Sunday against the Lions.
Rookie LB Geno Hayes was having a fantastic year, his reps on defense increased when Derrick Brooks and Barrett Ruud got banged up and recently had been few and far between. His production will be missed on Special Teams should his injury prove to be season ending.
We're praying for both of you guys!!