This article is part of our Injury Analysis series.
Hamstring strains appear to be the trendy injury for running backs this season, with multiple backs, including Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette and Melvin Gordon all missing time with the injury. In the cases of Cook and Fournette, the symptoms and limitations presented by their respective injuries have lingered for weeks and kept them sidelined for a majority of the season. Their delayed returns are linked to the body's natural healing response and the delicate balance that's required to complete the process.
When scar tissue is utilized to fill in the gaps caused by trauma, it's repeatedly remodeled using specialized protein. By constantly building up and breaking down these fibers, the overall integrity of the newly formed tissues improves. However, a substantial amount of time is needed for the scar tissue to display the same biomechanical properties as healthy muscle tissue. Unfortunately, an injured athlete may feel okay and even display normal functional movement while this remodeling is ongoing. Re-injury is a common occurrence if the athlete returns to play prematurely and subjects this still vulnerable tissue to high demands. Sadly, the entire healing sequence must begin again following a new injury or aggravation.
The Jaguars have witnessed this complicated scenario firsthand as Fournette continues to work his way back from his hamstring strain. Initially injured in the season opener, the second-year running back irritated the injury in his first game back in Week 4. He has not appeared in a game since. The team is optimistic he will be