Not So Fast, Chris Ivory May Not Be The Saints Back Of The Future


"And finally, I’d send  to an army of specialists: a nutritionist, a hamstring specialist, a physical therapist and a message therapist. Ivory is the Saints’ back of the future. He’s a difference-maker, one of the answers to the club’s running woes. He’s also useless if his size and speed are stuck on the sideline or in t he training room. He needs to learn how to take care of his body and become a pro. And he needs to learn it this offseason. — Jeff Duncan"

Sure it’s easy to label rookie running back Chris Ivory as the Saints running back of the future after leading the Saints in rushing (716 yards), yards per carry (5.2) and rushing touchdowns (5) during the 2010 season.

It’s also easy to say that if he learns to take care of his body, which all good pros do in the NFL, that he would manage to stay healthy and on the field for the Saints next season.

Unfortunately injuries cannot be avoided and in Ivory’s case his “take on all comer’s” running style lends itself perfectly to getting and becoming injured. If you watched him at all last season he never ran out of bounds and seem to relish contact with defenders.

Admittedly this style is what made him great as he was able to power through tacklers and pick up big chunks of yardage, but it’s also the reason he missed significant playing time and ultimately landed on injured reserve.

The injury that finally stopped Ivory in his tracks is a Lisfranc injury, essentially that breaks down to an injury to the ligaments that connect the joints in between the small bones that make up the top of the foot.

It will require surgery, which may have already happened, but at the time of this writing no reports have been released by the Saints updating his status.

Unfortunately for Ivory and the Saints the recovery time can be a whopping eight months or more. Do the math and that could add up to him not even being recovered in time to make the regular season opener.

It’s also an injury that typically can continue to cause pain and discomfort even after surgery so the possibility exists that Ivory will continue to experience problems well into the 2011 season.

Many of you may remember that Miami Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown was on his way to an outstanding, career-best season during 2009 before suffering the Lisfranc injury in week 10 effectively ending his year.

He did make it back for week 1 of the 2010 season but experienced a decline in prodcution averaging nearly a yard less per carry while posting three less toouchdowns and nearly the same yardage in six more games.

Ivory is a talent to be sure, and I am rooting for him to return to full strength, but maybe his future is not as bright as some seem to think it will be. The Saints may want to look into free agency or the draft for a running back that can help pick up the slack just in case.

Check out Keith Null’s weekly article about the Saints on by clicking here.

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