Like the most expensive and exotic of sports cars, the nonpareil sportsman Julio Jones is going to spend some time in the shop. High performance just comes with high maintenance.
A Stradivarius at his position, the Falcons’ star wide receiver is such a finely-tuned instrument that any imperfection is going to have a proportionally greater impact on him than on the other mere fiddles in the league. This we all accept.
On Sunday, it was reported to be a troublesome hip flexor that removed Jones from the Buffalo game when the Falcons most dearly needed him. He limped to the sideline early, the medical professionals looked under the hood and he was deemed unfit for further service.
A hip flexor – that is just so Julio. Only hurting the coolest of the flexors would seem appropriate to him.
What’s a hip flexor, anyway? I’m pretty sure if I have any of those, I haven’t used one since the Ford Administration. Those must be part of the luxury sports package.
The web site Sports Injury Predictor – wow, those guys must have some lively shop talk when they get together for a few drinks after work – likes to try to, oh, predict sports injuries.
In Jones’ case, they looked at his history since coming into the Falcons in 2011 and determined that his chance of getting injured this season was at 29.5 percent. Which I thought was more than reasonable given that this is football played for real, not through a Playstation proxy.
There's obviously big science to their conclusion, given that it comes with a decimal point.
Projected games Jones will miss in 2017, per the site: 3.1. It’s not a projection anyone would like for him to hit.
Fortunately, the Falcons have an early bye week and there is thought that his hip would be up and flexoring again in time for the Oct. 15 game against Miami.
The greatness that is Jones is tempered only somewhat by the little boo-boos that beset him. With the exception of a broken bone in his foot that cost him 11 games in 2013, his injuries have been more nagging than grievous. The injuries don't seem to be nearly on the scale with the player. Express gratitude here.
This is Julio’s medical chart, as compiled by the web site:
2011 – missed two games with hamstring strain, re-aggravated late in the season.
2012 – played all through the season with ankle issues.
2013 – the messed-up foot.
2014 – played through foot issues, missed one game with a hip pointer.
2015 – went wire-to-wire.
2016 – missed weeks 14 and 15 with a turf toe, one that troubled him through the postseason; had bunion surgery in the off-season.
Do not confuse any of that for an unwillingness to play hurt. Those were all debilitating, or Jones would have been out there. That's his character. Sports Injury Predictor rates players’ durability on a scale of one to five, five being the most durable. It defines durability as the “ability to produce despite relatively minor injuries.” And it gives Jones a four.
Sometimes a great player just can’t play, and it doesn't have to be for reasons that always pierce the skin. That’s why there is some community-wide breath-holding going on whenever the most graceful of player is awkwardly bent.
For here’s another peculiarity about Jones’ injury history: When he gets hurt, the fans feel the pain, too.