WashingtonpostOnly minutes into his first game as the franchise quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Nick Foles suffered a left shoulder injury, and he now stands to miss a significant portion of the upcoming season.
Foles threw a touchdown pass to DJ Chark before heading to the sidelines holding his non-throwing arm. The team quickly announced he would be out of the rest of the game with a left shoulder injury.
Head coach Doug Marrone told reporters after the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that Foles suffered a left clavicle fracture, or a broken collarbone. Foles himself announced he would undergo surgery Monday. No timeline for his expected return has been announced.
A clavicle fracture, or a broken collarbone, is unfortunately a common injury in contact and collision sports, such as football. Typically the injury occurs when the athlete lands on his or her shoulder. X-rays generally confirm the nature of the injury without the need for further tests, like an MRI.
Fixing the fracture surgically, usually with a plate and screws across the fracture, can help the clavicle fracture line up better and heal in a more anatomic position. The time for a player to return to play depends on how long it takes the bone to heal.
Generally for a clavicle fracture, it can take 6 to 8 weeks for the bone to become fully solid. Then the athlete has to regain full strength of the shoulder. For a quarterback, that could be a lengthy absence if the injury is on the throwing shoulder.
In Foles’ case, since the injury is on the non-throwing shoulder, the team doctors and athletic trainers could clear him to play sooner, as the plate and screws theoretically could protect the healing fracture. Still, 4 to 6 weeks seems to be the absolute best case scenario, as there would still be a risk of a forceful tackle disrupting the fracture and the hardware if it hasn’t healed completely.