When Dr. Neil Ghodadra sat down with "NFL Fantasy LIVE" guru Jason Smith this week, a healthy dose of doom and gloom was dumped upon the viewing public.
Addressing Ryan Mathews' return from a broken clavicle, the former team doctor for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls suggested we might not see the San Diego Chargers running back until October, although he has not examined Mathews' injury.
Mathews had talked about returning prior to the regular season, so what gives?
"It takes six weeks for the bone to heal," Ghodadra said. "Even after you fix it with the clavicle plate and screws, the bone still has to heal, so you are looking at six weeks for that at minimum. Studies have shown 8.8 weeks is how long it takes for NFL players to get back from clavicle fractures."
Ghodadra's crystal ball was more hopeful for the remaining cast of big-name backs on the road back from injury:
» Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns (arthroscopic knee surgery): "He should be fine, he should have no residual effects from that throughout the year. If he does have pain and swelling in the knee and goes down that's a bad sign, that likely means he has some kind of cartilage defect in the knee causing pain and swelling and that is a bigger issue." A hot/cold assessment that has the city of Cleveland squirming.
» Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (torn anterior cruciate ligament): "He's at the stage now that I'm not expecting a patella fracture again, but as we mentioned before, the first year back is always the toughest year back for a runner that had ACL reconstruction." We expect to see the Vikings lean generously on Toby Gerhardt to ease Peterson into a featured-back workload.
» Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders (Lisfranc sprain): "I think he'll be able to go back to full running without any difficulties at all. I do not expect this to bother him at all. I think he's going to do just fine." If McFadden can last 16 games -- a rarity in his world -- this is one of the best running backs in the AFC and a reason to believe in Oakland's offense.
» DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (broken right ankle): "I think he's going to do great. As of now, he should be fully healed as if he never had the injury at all." All signs point to Murray winning the starting job in Dallas, where he's already impressed teammates with his "mean streak" during camp.