What has happened to Darren McFadden? From his initial diagnosis, to the actual prognosis for recovery, anything relating to the running back has been ambiguous and frustrating to fans of the Oakland Raiders. Here’s a time line of events, including comments from Hue Jackson regarding McFadden’s mending:
October 23, 2011 – McFadden was injured in the 1st quarter versus the Kansas City Chiefs. The running back was on the sidelines during the contest as Oakland got trounced at home, 28-0. Michael Bush carried the load and ended with 99-yards. “I feel like I can step in and do a good job,” Bush said. “I had a good game today. Not to take away from myself, but I mean, like I said, this offensive line is doing a very good job in the running game, and when one guy goes down, somebody else has to step in.”
It was first reported during the game as an injured right foot.
October 24, 2011 – McFadden was spotted in a protective boot and on crutches.
October 25, 2011 –“I’m hoping to get [McFadden] back soon,” Hue Jackson said. “I know one thing, one of my plans for him was to get him some rest this week, to get him back up and get him fresh because, obviously, when Darren is rolling, he’s one of the best backs in this league. So, we need to get him healthy.”
His prognosis for recovery was determined to be much clearer after the week off.
Structurally, Jackson reported that McFadden’s foot was fine and that tests were negative. “What we’ll do is just move forward and see exactly where he is,” Jackson said. “Can he run? Can he not run? What’s going to be the diagnosis for his mid-foot sprain and let’s go from there.”
October 30, 2011 – Oakland had a bye week.
November 3, 2011 – “[Michael Bush is] in a tough spot,” Jackson stated. “He plays behind arguably in my opinion one of the best running backs in this league. But Bush is a really, really good player himself. It’s good when you have two of them. In case one can’t go, you have one you can lean on.”
November 6th, 2011 – Raiders lose to Broncos, at home, 38-24. Bush ended with 96-yards on 19-rushes, but Jackson failed to establish more of a presence on the ground in the second half. Bush had 73-yards at the half and 11 carries at halftime.
November 8, 2011 - Not looking good for McFadden vs. San Diego
During his meeting with the San Diego press, Jackson was asked if McFadden was ruled out for the contest against the Chargers and he replied, “No he hasn’t. Not at this point.”
“There’s further progress,” he stated to the local media,. “Obviously, he’s not out here right now, but I know he’s getting better.”
November 10, 2011 – Bush carried the ball 30-times for a season high 157-yards. And in McFaddenesque fashion, he added another 85-yards receiving. Oakland won, 24-17.
November 14, 2011 – Steve Corkran reported, “Based on the fact there was no structural damage, according to Jackson, it is believed that McFadden suffered a Grade 1 sprain, which is the least severe of the three sprains.”
November 16, 2011 – “I seen Darren McFadden without a boot, standing out here with his teammates today for the first time in a long time,” Jackson said. “So, to me, that’s huge progress.”
He continued: “But we’re working at it and, like I said, he’s getting closer to being back out here than not being back out there.”
November 20, 2011 – Raiders win at Minnesota, 27-21. Oakland’s ground attack amassed 162-yards against the 6th ranked rush defense in the league.
November 21, 2011 –Jackson talked about McFadden’s ‘progress’, which was the rusher being out of his boot observing practice.
“I don’t want a 70 percent Darren McFadden,” he was quoted. “I think that’s unfair to the player and unfair to the football team.”
November 25, 2011 – “It’s hard to come back when you’ve been gone that long to just hit the ground running and expect him to be exactly what he was before he left,” Jackson commented. “We’ll have a plan to take care of that. We just want him back, that’s the most important thing. I want to get the player back out here at practice at some point in time.”
November 27, 2011 – Raiders beat the Bears, 25-20. The team rushes for 73-yards.
December 4, 2011 – Oakland was defeated in Miami, 34-14. Team tallied only 46-yards on the ground.
December 5, 2011 – McFadden not spotted on the field, or in the locker room after practice.
December 6, 2011 – “I don’t think so,” Jackson answered, when asked if McFadden would be out the rest of the year. “I think he’ll be back, I really do. When that is, I don’t have an answer.”
He continued: “I’m not a doctor. I’m the coach. So, when they tell me I can have these guys back is when I’ll get them. Do I want him back? I wanted him four weeks ago. ”
December 7, 2011 - “They’re getting closer, and I wish I could tell you what day and what the percentage is, but I know they’re getting closer,” Jackson on his injured players.
December 11, 2011 – Raiders lose at Green Bay, 46-16. Team rushes for 117 yards.
December 12, 2011 – “I’ve been told that he has a midfoot sprain, which is just like a Lisfranc sprain, however you see that,” Jackson said. “It’s the same. It’s really one and the same. And I know one can require – both can require surgery. Both can require you to be out several, several weeks. So, they’re all in that same family. “
“I just think how you describe it, based on one when you say Lisfranc, really means surgical. You got to go in and fix it right away in order to get it to heal properly. That’s why when people hear that term, everybody goes, ‘Oh, my gosh, that’s what he has.’ No, he does not need surgery. That much I do know. You guys can write that. Darren McFadden does not need surgery.”
December 14, 2011 – ESPN’s analyst Bell states, “In McFadden’s case, his recovery appears to be taking longer than the Raiders initially projected it would, adding to the frustration of all looking from the outside in. At this point, despite Jackson’s statement that he expects McFadden to return, it’s hard to imagine a full-strength McFadden resurfacing within the next three weeks.”