Taylor’s Turf Toe Timeline
When it comes to injury information, there's very little you can take away from any comments that head coach Bo Pelini makes. If he tells you a player is out, they're out. Anything else is suspect. What we do know is that starting quarterback Taylor Martinez hasn't been practicing. Until that happens, it's hard to believe that he'll play. So if he's not practicing next week leading up to the Illinois game, when might we expect him to return?
Injury Week 3
Turf toe is at least a three-week injury but can sometimes take 6 to 12 weeks. At the 3-week level, his first day to run would be game day against Illinois. It seems unlikely that they'd use Martinez if he hasn't practiced, particularly if they can win the game without him. As a cross-division game it's not truly a must-win game to stay in contention, even if it could prove a necessary win if/when losses happen later. It's not unlikely that Martinez would dress for the game, but perhaps he'd only appear if things weren't going well.
Injury Week 4
Instead, Martiinez could begin running/practicing just after the Illinois game and make his return at Purdue. The Boilermakers look like the worst team in the conference this year. So it doesn't seem as though the team would really need him in order to win in Lafayette in another cross-division game. Still, you get a little more nervous about starting a freshman or a walk-on at quarterback when your team goes on the road and your defense may still be struggling.
Injury Week 5
The Minnesota game is a slightly higher degree of difficulty and importance, given that it's on the road against a divisional opponent that's started the season well. The Golden Gophers could be reeling from two or three straight losses after facing Iowa, Northwestern, and Michigan. It might be a nice tune-up for Taylor before two pivotal games for the Huskers. Nebraska hosts the Wildcats then travels to face Michigan in two games that would seem awfully important in deciding the division. If the injury is persistent though, you could still sit him at Minneapolis. Particularly, if the backup quarterbacks are playing well.
Injury Week 6 and Beyond
The injury would probably have to be pretty serious for Taylor to be kept out of the Northwestern game. If Tommy Armstrong and/or Ron Kellogg continue to play well, it might be worth considering. Only a nasty version of the injury would seem likely to keep Martinez out at Michigan. The Huskers need any edge they can get for that game.
One thing is clear. These coaches will not err too far on the side of caution with Martinez. This team hasn't lost too many starts at any position to injury under Pelini. You could call that good fortune, but really that tells you about the culture. Namely, NU starters play hurt. For that reason, anything later than a Week 5 (i.e. Minnesota) return would be a surprise.