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Eddie Lacy's toe not a problem, Alabama doctor says

Many pundits lauded the Green Bay Packers for one of the most successful 2013 drafts. One reason for the praise was snatching Eddie Lacy at No. 61 overall, after many projections had him as the No. 1 running back in the draft.

The main reason behind Lacy's fall was concern about the running back's toe surgery before his final season at Alabama.

Crimson Tide team doctor E. Lyle Cain Jr. dismissed the idea that the surgery would hinder Lacy's career and explained how the running back's surgery differed from other toe-fusion surgeries.

"The joint underneath the toenail was fused to allow the ligament to work better basically," Cain told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tyler Dunne. "It's something you do to give you a better push-off. His big toe moves just like a normal big toe in terms of motion. ... If you fused it completely, it'd give you a stiff big toe and you can't push off and that's a big problem. In Eddie's case, he does not have that. His fusion does not affect his big-toe motion.

"The bottom line is, the fusion he had does not affect his big-toe motion."

Cain said he's had other players who have had the same surgery and led productive NFL careers. He declined to name those players.

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Lacy's fruitful junior season -- 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns -- along with the fact that he had no setbacks as far as the toe was concerned, was proof enough for Cain that the back will be able to carry the load for a long time in Lambeau.

"That answered the question really," Cain said. "I think that takes it out of the equation. ... I expect Eddie Lacy to have a long, productive NFL career. I don't think the toe will be a problem in his career."

The Packers' pick of Johnathan Franklin in the fourth round to handcuff their Lacy selection was an indication the team isn't necessarily as sold as Cain.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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