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January 09, 2024

How will Jalen Hurts' finger injury affect his play?

Jalen Hurts suffered a dislocated finger in the Eagles' loss to the Giants. What does that mean for his play come the postseason? PhillyVoice spoke to an orthopedic surgeon to get an idea.

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Jalen Hurts suffered a dislocated finger in the Eagles' loss to the Giants. What effect will that have in the postseason?

In a season that feels exponentially worse by the minute, a scary moment popped up for the Eagles this past Sunday. Facing the Giants in their regular season finale, Jalen Hurts suffered a dislocated finger on his throwing hand

It did not look pretty:

After getting taped up, Hurts, being the gamer that he is, returned to play. He was pulled shortly after as the Eagles took out their starters in a game they were getting destroyed and that was ultimately meaningless in the playoff race. While Hurts has said he's taking it "day-to-day" and there's no official confirmation for his status on Monday in Tampa Bay, it's hard to envision Hurts not suiting up for a playoff game while defending the team's NFC title.

In a perfect world, Hurts would be at 100 percent, but the Eagles do not inhabit that universe this year. How will that injury affect Hurts? 

PhillyVoice spoke with Dr. Dinesh Dhanaraj, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at St. Mary Medical Center, about Hurts' injury.

"It's called a PIP dislocation and what that stands for is 'proximal interphalangeal' dislocation and, basically, it's when that middle digit dislocates from the proximal digit,"  Dr. Dhanaraj said regarding the injury. "Therefore, the ligaments get stretched out."

Continuing on, Dr. Dhanaraj said, "When there's no fracture, it's called a 'simple dislocation' and it can be reduced, as it's pulled on and snapped back into place and the finger will work. You can actually continue to play, as you saw he did. They taped it up, buddy tape it with the digit adjacent to it to support it and you can play."

What about pain management? 

"Once you're back into place, everything can work, but there's swelling, pain. There's going to be a problem with grip strength. He can shift his grip strength more to the index finger. He will have to adjust due to a pain threshold," Dr. Dhanaraj said. "It just depends on how you throw the football and how you hold the football when you're primarily using the middle or the index. He'll have to shift more to the index just because it's a recent injury."

Grip strength is the area where Hurts will seemingly be most affected. "Grip it and rip it" likely won't be as easy as it's been in the past for QB1.

"A lot of the throwing power comes from the body. It comes from the core," Dr. Dhanaraj said. "The fine tune of how the ball spins, the accuracy, is probably in the digits and the hand. There's probably going to be some aspect that's going to be off."

The Eagles are in dire straits. Hurts is banged up, as are his top two targets, A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. The sky is falling accordingly in Philadelphia as the Birds limp their way into the postseason, crashing hard after a blistering 10-1 start.

Hurts, facing a Buccaneers defense that caused him a whole host of issues in the Eagles' Wild Card loss in Tampa two years back, will need to manage this unfortunate situation and hope that Brown and Smith join him out on the field. With all of the Eagles' woes, from defense to coaching and everything in between, it's been up to Hurts to carry the team. He'll be in a difficult position to do so, but such is the life of a franchise quarterback.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and guest authors and do not reflect any official policy or position of any NFL team or a team's athletic physicians.

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