Jacksonville Jaguars fans had a scare in Thursday night's preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears when starting right tackle Austin Pasztor left the field with a hand injury. The team's interior offensive line is in flux and the last thing they need is an injury to an established starter.
It was believed Pasztor had a broken hand after the game and on Friday morning it was revealed he broke the fourth metacarpal on his hand, also known as the ring finger. There has yet to be a timetable placed on Pasztor's injury, but often offensive lineman can play with things like soft casts on their hand so I asked SB Nation's injury expert Dr. Ali about his injury.
Here is what Dr. Ali told me about Pasztor's injury and what we could be looking at going forward:
Fractures of the fourth metacarpal, which is the hand bone that connects to the ring finger, are commonly known as Boxer's fractures because they often occur when a clenched fist strikes a solid object. Pasztor will need some time off to recover, but the length of recovery depends on whether the fracture was displaced -- when the fractured part of the bone moves out of alignment with the rest -- or non-displaced.
If displaced, it's not uncommon for athletes to undergo surgery to straighten out the bone and, in many cases, insert screws for stability. This can take up to a month before getting back on the field. If non-displaced, surgery isn't required the recovery time is much quicker, with players often back on the field in a cast in as little as 2 weeks.
There shouldn't be a lot of panic about Pasztor being out, even if he's out for about a month in the worst case scenario, because the Jaguars have a capable backup swing tackle in Cameron Bradfield. Ideally you want Pasztor on the field, but I would be surprised if he plays in the remainder of the preseason. Pasztor still starting Week 1 however isn't out of the question.
Update: Pasztor is having surgery on his finger.
Pasztor surgery. Not season ending.— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) August 15, 2014