Chargers’ wide receiver Mike Williams aggravated his right high-ankle sprain in the first half of Sunday’s loss to Kansas City, and will be questionable for Week 12.
Williams first injured his ankle in Week 7. In the fourth quarter, Williams caught a pass near the first down marker and tried to turn upfield. He planted his foot as Seattle CB Michael Jackson dragged him down. The weight of Jackson’s body landed on Williams’ right ankle as he pulled Williams’ hips down and rolled him over his own body.
Williams’ ankle got caught and pinned under Jackson while the rest of his body rolled in the opposite direction. An MRI later revealed he had a high ankle sprain. The difference between high ankle sprains and low ankle sprains is more than just location.
Low ankle sprains are the more common sprain, where the ankle “rolls,” causing damage to the anterior talofibular ligament, posterior talofibular ligament, and/or the calcaneofibular ligament. On the other hand, high ankle sprains involve damage to the syndesmotic ligaments as a result of twisting, or over rotation.
The syndesmotic ligaments hold together the tibia and fibula above the ankle joint complex, and because of their significance in how the rest of the lower leg functions, they often require more attention when damaged. They also receive a much lower blood supply than the ligaments involved in low ankle sprains, which elongates the recovery time. Severe high ankle sprains often require a non-weight bearing walker boot or cast for multiple weeks, and rehab itself can last months.
Initially, our algorithm calculated this to be a Grade 2 sprain, indicating there was some tearing present. We also calculated his Optimal Recovery Time to be 28 days from the injury, which occurred on October 23. He aggravated his ankle on November 20, meaning he had reached Optimal Recovery by that point.
This is a good sign that he didn’t make the injury worse. If he had aggravated it in Week 10 – for example – it’s likely he would have caused more damage. That being said, the Chargers should still approach the injury cautiously this week. His Injury Risk is High (28%) but his Health Performance Factor is Peak (81%). We expect he will be limited at practice early this week but will play in Week 12 against Arizona.