It's been revealed this weekend that Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech) will require surgery to repair a stress fracture on his fifth metatarsal. The medical experts are saying he'll need a ten week layoff, whilst the draft experts are suggesting this could affect his stock. Does this change an awful lot?
Everyone knew Crabtree wasn't 100% coming into the combine and that's why he's chosen not to work out. But this isn't a serious career threatening injury. In soccer, a broken metatarsal is a notoriously common injury. David Beckham (L.A. Galaxy, currently on loan with A.C. Milan) suffered the same injury just before the 2002 soccer world cup and actually played during the tournament with the problem.
If this was another injury to his ankle it would be a big talking point. This fracture is easily fixable and not the kind of problem that is likely to re-occur regularly. In fact a more pressing concern for Crabtree's stock is surely his height measurement. He's previously been listed at around the 6'3" mark but came in at just over 6'1" in Indianapolis. Aaron Weingburg at Next Season Sports shows that all the receivers taken in the top five in the last five drafts have been at least a couple of inches taller.
I think we can forget those comparisons to Larry Fitzgerald, at least physically.
Going back to the injury though, it's easy to assume this will dramatically affect his stock. At a time when pundits are looking for reasons to push people up or down a mock draft this is the perfect story. In reality I think if a team such as the Seattle Seahawks were considering drafting Crabtree this won't have eliminated him from their thoughts. After all, Tim Ruskell gave Patrick Kerney a $39.5m contract just after he'd missed seven games with a torn pectoral muscle.
However, it's not to say it couldn't be a deal breaker. If, on draft day, Crabtree is at the top of their hit list alongside a prospect they rate equally - a clean bill of health could make the difference with large amounts of money on offer. Ruskell has spoken this weekend of getting an impact player but he's also talked about getting good value.