Injury Profile: Derrius Guice


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Injury Profile: Derrius Guice

As dynasty and redraft talks begin this off-season, Derrius Guice is the mayor of Bounce Back Candidate City. Although I don't disagree it's possible Guice bounces back and puts up massive numbers, it would be against the injury and performance odds. For a complete description of what Osteoarthritis/degenerative joint disease is, see my piece on Fantasy Points here. Allow me to explain from a medical perspective the risk Guice brings to your fantasy football team.

What happened?

In August of 2018, Guice tore his left ACL and he fell into the 2.55% of people who acquire an infection after the surgery. These bacterial infections are aggressive and must be treated with IV antibiotics for weeks or months under the supervision of a physician. Along with draining the knee frequently, he also could have experienced flu like symptoms. This significantly impacted his recovery and rehabilitation appointments, which didn’t help the ACL heal. Then in 2019 just when Guice got healthy, he suffered a right meniscus injury that required a meniscectomy repair. This is a much more extensive procedure than the "clean ups" we're accustomed to seeing for some players. Additionally, the recovery is much longer and extensive. But of course, that wasn't the end of the nightmare for Guice; he then injured his left MCL on December 8th, 2019. If you’re wondering whether it’s a coincidence that he tore his left ACL and then injured his left MCL, it’s not. The MCL is built to prevent the knee from valgus (knee caving in) which also indirectly protects the ACL.

What’s the problem?

There is an overwhelming amount ofevidence showing that previous trauma and surgery increases the risk of osteoarthritis (O.A.). More specifically,this study conducted on 723 NFL combine participants showed that of 423 knees with a history of surgeries, 104 already demonstrated evidence of osteoarthritis (O.A.) on x-ray or MRI. Making matters worse is that ACL reconstruction, meniscectomy, and a body mass index (B.M.I.) greater than 30kg/m^2 all increased a player’s risk of future O.A. Guice has had both surgeries and has a B.M.I. of 31kg/M^2. Now, this group of players were asymptomatic, but just a big hit away from a spiral like Todd Gurley’s.

The knock-out blow solidifying Guice’s volatility comes fromanother study of 2,285 NFL combine participants stating:

“After controlling for position of play, the injury-free control group had a significantly greater number of total games played and games started and higher snap percentage versus those with a prior meniscectomy…”

The over-arching theme here is that Derrius Guice’s history of injuries carries an objective and quantifiable risk compared to his contemporaries. No amount of rationalizing can argue the fact that he carries a risk of re-injury and/or exacerbation of a condition he might already have.

The Counter Argument

Now,legitimate data does exist showing that x-rays and MRI, part of the method used in identifying O.A. correlates very poorly with actual pain and performance. It’s also reasonable to believe that even if a dip in production occurs, it could very well happen after a Gurley-esque stint of domination. Nobody can predict when these things occur after all. Furthermore, Derrius Guice can thrive in the short term (for a year or two) but his susceptibility of recurrent knee injuries is too great to ignore. Nevertheless, don't be surprised if the approach for Guice in 2020 is one of "load management" that could come with a volume reduction in the red zone and at the goal line. Considering Washington recently signed Peyton Barber and chose to re-sign 35-year-old Adrian Peterson, this theory is not one to dismiss. If Guice is fantasy relevant, how much relevancy should we really expect? Lastly, the measures used to analyze “performance” are very difficult to standardize and seem arbitrary at best. This is because a team’s strength of schedule, depth chart, and overall strategy on a week-to-week basis can greatly affect a player’s numbers. In short, a “physical performance DVOA” is needed to truly quantify how productive players can be after injury.

The Bottom Line

Derrius Guice comes with an objective injury risk due to his history and current situation in Washington. This is not up for debate. However, when the risk materializes and to what extent is not clear. However, fantasy football is all about risk mitigation, and the bottom line is that Guice has a crazy wide range of outcomes. Now that you’ve read the injury and performance side of Guice’s projection, check out the Fantasy Points rankings here to see where Guice stacks up relative to the field. Thanks for reading!

Edwin completed his Doctorate of Physical Therapy education in 2020. His expertise is in all thing’s orthopedics, injury recovery, and he has a special interest in human performance. Edwin’s vision is to push injury advice past simple video analysis and into the realm of applying data from the medical literature to help fantasy players make informed start-sit decisions.