Context on Donnie Avery: Isaac Bruce 2005

We don’t know, and won’t know until we’re told for sure, what Donnie Avery’s foot injury is. But I’m speculating, given that there was no break that showed up on X-ray, and that they played their scrimmage on the new NextTurf field at Lindenwood, that it’s some form of “turf toe,” or hyperextended ligament of the big toe. This is a pernicious injury for skill players, one that hit both Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce at points in their careers. In both cases, the players missed significant time and showed immediate (but not permanent) decline in production for the remainder of their season.

Isaac Bruce was hurt in 2005, during Week 3’s rematch against the Tennessee Titans. (the P-D game report makes no mention of it, though.) He missed five games (three losses and two wins), and the bye week, then came back Week 10 against Seattle (recap). He caught one pass for 16 yards in the loss, which all but gave Seattle the NFC West title.

Bruce caught long touchdown passes in each of the next two games, but finished the season with receiving numbers far below his norm, catching only 36 balls in 11 games played. However, the following season he topped 1,000 yards receiving for the 8th time in his career, catching 74 passes with 14.8 yards per catch (roughly equal to his career averages).

This kind of injury is not death for a receiver, the way a shoulder injury is for a pitcher in baseball, but it will likely have a significant impact on Avery’s season.