Back in Week Seven against San Diego Tevin Coleman injured his hamstring, and we haven’t seen him since. He’s back to practicing as of November 21st, but will he be the player he was before he went down?
As part of a two-headed monster with Devonta Freeman, he had been very productive, breaking big plays in both the run game and the passing attack. His work against Denver, in particular, was instrumental in winning that game. He’s actually bigger and faster than Freeman, and more likely to break a big play, though Freeman has better vision and shiftiness.
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However, hammies are notoriously nagging injuries. Once you get one, it’s likely to come back again because of the nature of the injury and the muscles and tendons it’s afflicting. You can rest and stretch and warm up and ice it and compress it and shoot painkillers all you want, but the bottom line is once you’ve injured your hamstring, you’ve increased the likelihood of doing it again, and this is the second injury to the same hamstring in Coleman’s professional career (the first being during the preseason of his rookie year).
The injury is reported as a strain or pull, not a tear, and those often have a recovery time – for an average human being not playing NFL football – of a few days. Coleman has been resting it for a few weeks now, so I would expect that once he’s back in there, he’ll be able to go at full speed. That said, I personally would rather see him used as a change-of-pace type of weapon rather than truly sharing touches with Freeman. Save him for certain situations and personnel packages and plays where his straight-line speed and explosive play capability can best be utilized. Additionally, saving him now hopefully leaves him available and at full strength during the likely berth in the post-season.