Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at email@example.com.
Pierre Garçon Will Rest Toe, Though Surgery Remains An Option
(Originally posted 10/25/12, 12:38 p.m.; Updated 10/25/12, 11:48 p.m.)
ASHBURN – Pierre Garçon said Thursday he has decided to rest his right foot instead of undergoing surgery that would likely keep him out of the rest of the season.
The Washington Redskins’ receiver visited Robert Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist, in Charlotte a day earlier and confirmed what had been diagnosed by the team weeks earlier. A return remains uncertain for Garçon, who has not practiced in the past week.
“We knew, but we didn’t really want to believe it,” Garçon said. “We thought it was something minor that could be fixed in the five or six weeks that I was out.”
The official diagnosis was that Garçon had torn a plantar plate in the toe, which is the technical name for the capsule head coach Mike Shanahan began referring to as being inflamed shortly after the injury occurred. Garçon also said he was told that referring to the injury as a variant on turf toe, which usually happens in the big toe, is not necessarily inaccurate.
The tear itself cannot get worse if he were to continue playing on it, Garçon was told, though it’s possible he could injure another part of the foot or leg from overcompensating for the pain.
The plantar plate is a cartilaginous structure that provides cushioning on the bottom of the toe between two ligaments that keep the toe in proper alignment. If not addressed, it can lead to a dislocated toe.
Garçon said he originally began experiencing discomfort during the preseason, but it wasn’t until the Redskins’ opener at New Orleans on Sept. 9 that he “felt the pop.”
That was news to Shanahan on Thursday, though he wasn’t surprised that Garçon downplayed the extent of the pain in the four games leading up to the start of the season.
“It kind of makes a little bit of sense because when I saw [him] run in the game, it looked like he barely got tweaked on it,” Shanahan said. “Obviously, it was more serious than we first anticipated, but yeah, you always want guys to at least be honest with you so you can at least give it a little bit of treatment.”
Garçon sat out the following two games, returned Sept. 30 at Tampa Bay and played the following week against Atlanta, but has been inactive for Washington’s last two games. It’s conceivable Garçon, who signed a five-year, $42.5 million contract during the offseason to be the Redskins’ top receiver, could be out until past the Nov. 11 bye week.
Surgery, which could require at least a six-week recovery time, would likely end his season. Garçon said he has never had an operation “and would like to keep it that way,” which is why he has opted for rest.
He said he has evaluated the pain in the toe every morning, but it continues to linger.
“I can play,” Garçon said. “I played with it. I can play with it, but I can’t really run at full speed. I can’t really explode or be fast. That’s the only thing really can do. I can’t really get much explosion because it’s that painful.”
Given the situation, simply resting the foot instead of practicing each day, as he did from Sept. 13 until two weeks ago, may have been the better move, Garçon said.
“We could say that now, but when you’re going through it, I was like, ‘Hey, I feel like I can play a little bit. I feel like I can do a little something-something,’” Garçon said. “But when it came down to it, the painkillers wore off and you’re out there and your foot’s hurting and you’re not performing as high as I want to.
“You want to say, ‘I could have shut it down,’ but we went along and made a group decision and decided to go back out there and try to help the team.”