Stephon Tuitt was projected to be a sought-after athlete at the 2014 NFL draft. This will now be a much bigger battle, as it was recently reported that he has suffered a Jones fracture. Jones fractures are fractures to a particular area on the 5th metatarsal bone, which lies on the outside of the middle of the foot. A fracture in this particular area of the bone is notorious for having difficulty healing, as blood flow to this area is limited compared to other areas of the bone. Typical fractures generally take 6-8 weeks to completely heal and the recommendation to return to sport is an 'easing in' type of process, which puts a lot of training on hold. With Jones fractures, healing without surgical intervention can take closer to 14 weeks in some cases.
Because agility, speed and lower body strength training requires an athlete to have two good feet to stand on (and jump on, and shuffle on...) these training exercises will have to be delayed until the bone has healed. In addition, even when a Jones fracture heals, there is a high likelihood of recurrence of this injury - especially if re-training and appropriate support is not provided after healing.
The best opportunity for quick healing and recovery from this injury usually requires surgery to provide compression across the fracture site and to immobilize the site of injury so that what precarious blood supply is available can successfully help the bone to heal. It means a lot of patience and rest, which is difficult for any athlete. In cases where surgery is not appropriate for a given situation, bone stimulator machines help to expedite the process of healing.
These serious fractures have and are often misdiagnosed as a sprain. Like any 'sprain' it is best to see a specialist soon after your injury to ensure that no bone breaks have occurred. A quick visit can mean the difference between 6-8 weeks or an injury that lingers for months.