Jacksonville rookie DE Dante Fowler injured his knee today in rookie minicamp:
Jags new Leo pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr tweeks knee at rookie mini camp. Was walking with trainers and carted later. pic.twitter.com/nkl8aoqC6x
— Chad Weeks (@cweeks85) May 8, 2015
Not good. We don't know the severity of the injury, but it certainly sent reverberations throughout the NFL media world today...which got me thinking as a Rams fan.
What is the timeline for Todd Gurley? He tore his ACL on Nov. 15 last year against Auburn, his first game back after the four-game suspension for be being paid for signing autographs. Doctors have suggested it was a "clean" tear that didn't require any follow-up surgery or offer any complications in the repair of the ligament. The initial timeline was "six to nine months" which would of course put him in line to return to normal football operations between May 15 and August 15.
So when does he start to test the knee at full speed?
The Rams can't even begin training camp until the last day of July, following OTAs throughout June. The Rams' first preseason game is August 15. So there's a broad window in there if the Rams and Gurley are interested in really pushing to hit that window.
But consider a couple factors:
1.) Todd Gurley is 20 years old. The Rams spent a 10th overall draft pick on him a week ago. They can't contribute to risking any further injuries to that knee.
2.) Jeff Fisher hates playing rookies early. Aaron Donald didn't even start until the fifth game. Tre Mason was inactive until week six and didn't even start until week nine.
3.) Not trying to find another angle to squeeze this argument in, but I don't think he improves the team all that much especially this early in his career having yet to adjust to the NFL game. The Rams can afford to go with Tre Mason, Benny Cunningham and whomever comes out of the preseason as a legitimate alternative beyond those two, if anyone, to get the season going.
Those three being considered, how long should the Rams sit him out of caution alone? Let's say he's comfortable with his knee and tell Fish he's ready to go full speed when training camp starts. Should Fish let him? Should he hold him out of the preseason? Should he even hold him out of the first few games, again, for caution alone? Now consider those questions if Gurley's NOT able to go for training camp. Do you have to consider placing him on the PUP and saying goodbye to the opportunity to play him until after the bye?
There's never a right answer except for the one that gets your guy back as early as possible and avoids another injury. Here's hoping the Rams land on that one.