In 2018, Marquise Brown fractured a bone in the middle of his foot and/or ruptured ligaments holding it in place, commonly referred to as a Lisfranc injury. This injury is extremely common among NFL players and occurs when a player’s foot is compressed downward while pushing off the foot in a sprint. The surgeon screwed together two of the foot bones and left the screw in place for a year to allow for the structures to heal. He played all of 2019 with that screw in his damn foot. So the fact that he managed to average nine points per game, as a rookie, is incredible. He was clearly battling through it as he was on the injury report with an ankle and/or foot issue seven times. In April, Brown had those screws removed. *Eyeballs emjoi*
What it Means
Foot and ankle injuries can be tricky due to the fact that it’s nearly impossible to avoid bearing weight through those joints which can delay or disrupt healing. When players eventually come back from this injury, it’s also been reported that early-onset arthritis and pain are common. Well, if a receiver can’t push off his foot while running without pain, it’s probably going to affect his performance, right? Exactly.
Unsurprisingly the Lisfranc procedure has been reported to cause a 21% dip in offensive production on average the first year after the surgery. The second year that production rebounds. Now, obviously, he was a rookie so there’s no previous production to compare- but there’s no denying the foot/ankle was an issue.
Despite metal being embedded in his freaking bone, he averaged more points per game than JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and Brandin Cooks. Additionally, he finished one point or less behind the likes of D.K. Metcalf, Adam Thielen, Curtis Samuel, and Preston Williams. In my humble opinion, if you’re excited about any of the above players, you should be ecstatic for Marquise Brown. I can’t speak to “should I take X player over Hollywood” because I leave that to The Boys. You can find their rankings here.
The Cherry on Top
As I mentioned in the WR Injury Discount article with Scott Barrett, there isn’t a silver bullet when it comes to hitting peak physical shape. It takes a genuinely ardent commitment to train hard and smart, coupled with a strict diet for elite athletes to reach peak form- and it seems that Brown has made this exact commitment. Listen, coach-speak is one thing, but the proof is in the pudding, and when a 23-year-old piles on 10lbs of muscle it gets my attention. The immediate thought is that there’s no way he can maintain his speed, but reports are that he’s handling it just fine. Speed would only be a concern if a majority of the weight gain was from fat mass but Brown maintaining his top-speed proves his transformation wasn’t due to the quarantine-15. The second concern would be that massive fluctuations in weight over a short period of time, or gaining too much weight at once may lead to physical volatility as our bodies are not meant for big swings. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case for Brown, as he’s gained less than 2lbs per month since last January. This implies he’s doing it the right way, which is gradual. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, there’s truly something to be said about the psychological and mental aspect of sport performance that comes with preparation. Brown has demonstrated that he’s absolutely dedicated to his craft which will only lead to greater confidence on the field.
Marquise Brown is a talented rookie who averaged nine points per game in 2019 with hardware in his foot. This hardware was removed in April and since the Ravens’ playoff game, he’s added 10lbs of muscle to his frame which will further contribute to his fantasy production that will, almost undoubtedly, take a massive leap forward this year.