Jim Schwartz Explains His Secrecy With Injuries

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz says about as little as he possibly can when it comes to questions about injuries. Often times he will just respond that so and so "has a foot," leaving the media and fans in the dark when it comes to the health of his players.

Part of this is simply for competitive reasons, as Schwartz follows Bill Belichick's ways in keeping an upcoming opponent guessing as much as they can. Part of this is also just so he doesn't misreport the situation a player is in as far as a recovery and timetable go, learning from what happened back in 2002 with the Titans and Jevon Kearse.

Kearse broke the metatarsal bone in his left foot in the first game of the 2002 season. Titans head coach Jeff Fisher told the media that Kearse's return would come in four to six weeks. When Kearse didn't come back as quickly as everybody originally expected, things got a little ugly in the media and with the fans as speculation ran rampant about what was taking so long.

"Well, what we didn't know at the time is that fifth metatarsals heal at a different rate depending on where the break is," Schwartz told the Michigan Associated Press Sports Editors Association recently. "... Four weeks later, we X-ray it and the bone hadn't (healed). So the whole city of Nashville is (angry). It was Jevon's last year of the contract. He had switched agents.

"All of a sudden, at four weeks everybody started wondering why Jevon wasn't back. At six weeks, it was we had crossed the Rubicon and Jevon was not injured, he was gold-bricking, he was holding out, he wasn't coming back this year, and it was a contract-negotiation ploy. And Jevon was trying his very best to come back. He came back 10 weeks later."

Schwartz went on to explain that he learned from Fisher to never put a public timetable on a player's recovery from an injury. Aside from setting a rather concrete expectation for that player's return, you can misrepresent the situation and deal with claims of rushing him back too soon or have to answer questions about why he isn't back yet. In Schwartz's view, the less that is said the better.

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