When you miss at least three games because of injury in each of your first four seasons, it’s hard to avoid the label of being injury prone.
That’s the label that’s been hung on Raiders running back Darren McFadden. Last year’s Lisfranc injury was the latest ailment to keep the running back off the field, but there’s always been some bother keeping McFadden, who has the highest yards per carry in the league over the last two seasons, from putting together the kind of full season that would vault him into the highest level of the league’s backs.
McFadden can’t deny the injuries have happened, but he does take issue with the idea that he’s more prone to suffer them than other people. McFadden called the injuries fluky on Sunday.
“I can’t worry about last year. Or that people say I always get hurt. I am always in shape and I work hard,” McFadden said, via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. “If anyone has any answers as to how I can avoid getting hurt, with these fluke-type injuries, I would love to hear them.”
The perception of McFadden as injury-prone, which quickly morphs into the suggestion of softness, wasn’t helped by the way former Raiders coach Hue Jackson handled his injury last year. Every week brought hints, feints and vague descriptions of McFadden’s status, so his absence on Sunday made it seem like McFadden’s unwillingness to play was at least partially to blame for his absences.
But that won’t mean a thing if Week Seven rolls around and McFadden is on the bench because of an injury, fluke or otherwise. The Raiders need a full season from McFadden to find their way back to a winning season and McFadden needs it if he wants to put the injury prone label to bed once and for all.