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2015 NFL Draft Rumors: DE Shane Ray won't need foot surgery -- update

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Good news for potential first round pick.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier Thursday a report surfaced that Missouri Shane Ray might be facing foot surgery, which would obviously impact his status as a potential first-round draft pick. A new report indicates that Ray has been told he needs rest, not surgery.

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In the final game of his college career, Missouri edge rusher Shane Ray suffered a foot injury -- turf toe. While the name for the injury borders on "cute", it could be a severe injury for a football player. Simply put, "Turf Toe" is a sprain of the main joint of the big toe.

We have already seen that Ray's injury has affected his draft process by keeping him out of the NFL scouting combine, and limited his athletic ability to the point that the numbers from his Pro Day workout simply do not match up with the explosive athleticism Ray has exhibited on the football field.

The lenght of his recovery, the impact on his athleticism, and the suggestion that surgery could be an option, suggest that Ray's injury could have been a Grade 3 sprain. About these injuries, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says:

Grade 3. These more severe injuries are most often treated with immobilization for several weeks. The athlete may wear a walking boot or be put in a cast that keeps the big toe in a partially pointed down position. As the injury heals, treatment will gradually step down to Grade 2 and then to Grade 1.
Physical therapy may be helpful and should be started as soon as symptoms allow. Specific exercises will help to stretch and strengthen the big toe. Early joint movement is essential for reducing or preventing joint stiffness.

Surgical Treatment
Surgery is not often necessary for treating turf toe. However, if your symptoms persist or your level of athletic play is affected, surgery may be an option. Doctors most often recommend surgery for larger Grade 3 injuries, such as:

  • A severe tear of the plantar complex
  • Fracture of the sesamoid Vertical instability (unusual up and down motion) of the MTP joint
  • Loose bony chip in the joint Damage to the cartilage of the joint
  • New or worsening bunion

The question is now whether or not, or how much, this impacts Ray's draft stock. The general consensus is that Ray will slide in the draft, with some speculating that he could slide all the way out of the first round.

There are generally few lingering effects of turf toe, so this doesn't really change my opinion on Ray. If he does need surgery, it is likely that the biggest impact is that whatever team drafts him might not have him for the first eight weeks of the season. Measured against the impact he could have over the first four to five years of his career, missing eight games isn't much. However, teams are always looking for reasons to not draft a prospect.

Things start to get really interesting if he falls out of the first round completely.