Michael Turner Injury Leaves Atlanta Falcons Backfield with Many Questions

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst INovember 29, 2009

Michael Turner left Sunday's game against Tampa Bay after re-aggravating a right ankle injury.

Turner initially suffered a high-ankle sprain two weeks ago, and was re-injured today after awkwardly twisting backwards on the previously damaged ankle. 

Considering that a high-ankle sprain requires at least four-to-six weeks to heal, what were the Atlanta Falcons thinking? 

Additionally, the injury can sometimes be so severe that it requires a cast or splint to support the damaged joint. 

An athlete who sustains this injury will normally be on crutches for around two weeks, yet the Falcons' training staff seemed to have no qualms about rushing their superstar back against the Buccaneers. 

Turner signed a six-year, $34 million contract before the 2008 season, and as the featured back he had no business trying to play through this injury.

By no means should he have been on the field during Week 12 action, especially considering the Falcons were facing the the one-win Bucs. 

Not to mention that putting him back on the field allowed him to further damage the joint and perhaps could keep him out for the remainder of the season. 

My hat goes off to Turner for attempting to show him teammates and coach that he is tough enough to play through the injury, but he displayed a visible hitch in his gait during Sunday's game even before hurting the ankle again. 

Turner carried 12 times for only 33 yards before leaving the game.

If the Falcons had played this on the safe side, they could have had Turner back at full strength by Week 16, but now his timetable for return could extend past the end of the regular season.

Despite coming from behind and picking up a 20-17 victory, the Falcons face two pivotal games in the upcoming weeks with Philadelphia and NFC South leading New Orleans coming to town back-to-back.

Atlanta is now left with Jason Snelling and Jerious Norwood to shoulder the load.

Many fantasy owners picked up Snelling before his breakout game last week, when he rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, and it would be a good idea to retain him for the near future considering Turner's unsure status going forward. 

Snelling rushed only four times for eight yards today, but he will surely see an increased workload next week against the Eagles. 

As for Norwood, he also returned from an injury today, and he carried the ball six times against Tampa Bay for 22 yards, with 18 of those coming via one long run. 

For those owners looking to fill an RB2 slot or utility role, Snelling or Norwood might provide a boost for your squad over the next few weeks.

But with the lingering question of which back will get the bulk of the carries, be sure to keep up-to-date during the week on whether Snelling or Norwood is being favored at practice.