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2007 Off-Season Injury Report - Tight Ends
Philip Gentles
July 27, 2007

Alge Crumpler, ATL
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Huddle Up: Falcons' TE Alge Crumpler, who is recovering from off-season arthroscopic knee surgery, was cleared to practice on Thursday but according to reports he left the field early. Crumpler dealt with pain in his left knee last season that cost him many practices. He was able to play through the problem but he said that the injury definitely affected his performance. The medical staff initially believed that rest and treatment was all he needed to make a full recovery but Crumpler began complaining of soreness in his knee following workouts in late March and early April. So the medical staff decided to operate and in doing so they were able to repair damage to the cartilage in his knee and remove loose bodies and fluid from the joint. Crumpler was held out of team drills in May and June but he was cleared to practice in training camp, although the team implied that they would keep a close eye on his participate and limit his involvement where necessary. Well Crumpler was seen leaving the field with 10 minutes left in Thursday's training camp practice. It is unknown at this time if he aggravated the injury or if the team was just limiting his reps but keep an eye on today's practice report to see if he participates. We will keep you posted.

Tony SchefflerTony Scheffler, DEN
Fractured Left Foot

Huddle Up: Broncos' TE Tony Scheffler, who broke a bone in his left foot back in May, has almost completely recovered and the team expects him to be cleared to play when they open training camp. According to reports Scheffler was hurt while running a route during practice on May 18th. He apparently turned his foot while trying to make a cut and he was seen limping off the field. An X-ray later on that day revealed a broken bone in his foot and while it didn't require surgery the medical staff said that the injury would keep him sidelined for two months. Scheffler's recovery has reportedly gone well but he hasn't tested his foot at full speed and that should happen just prior to the start of training camp. If all has gone well like the Broncos' have reported he will be cleared to practice as soon as camp begins.

L.J. Smith, PHI
Sports Hernia Surgery / Lower Back Surgery

Huddle Up: Eagles' TE L.J. Smith is coming off a busy off-season. Smith had lower back surgery in February to correct what appeared to be a herniated disc (a rupture of the intervertebral disc between spinal vertebrae) and in May he underwent another surgical procedure, this time to repair a sports hernia (tear in the muscles of the lower abdomen). According to reports Smith complained of lower back stiffness and pain towards the end of last season. Head coach Andy Reid told reporters at the time that Smith was suffering from lower back inflammation, but it eventually required corrective surgery to fix. The Eagles have not confirmed the nature of that surgery but it is believed that Smith was suffering from a herniated disc. After a workout in May Smith began to complain of pain in his stomach and an MRI revealed a tear in his abdominal muscle. The surgical procedure to repair the tear was reportedly a success and he has since made a quick recovery and appears ready for the start of training camp. In fact Reid told reporters in a recent interview that he expects Smith to be at full speed when camp begins. Smith will likely be a big part of the Eagles offense this season so his participation in camp and the preseason will come as a major plus for the team.

Ben Troupe, TEN
Fractured Ankle

Huddle Up: Titans' TE Ben Troupe is healthy and should be available when the team starts training camp practice. Troupe fractured his right ankle during a game last November and although the injury did not require surgery he was placed on Injured Reserve ending his season. Troupe reportedly worked hard in the off-season and according to reports his ankle is no longer an issue and unless he suffers a setback he will be at full speed for the start of the regular season.

Kellen Winslow Jr., CLE
Microfracture Knee Surgery / Lower Back Surgery

Huddle Up: According to reports Browns' TE Kellen Winslow Jr. has been placed on the PUP list as he continues to recover from off-season microfracture surgery. But team officials are confident that he will pass a physical as early as next week and as soon as he does he will be removed from the PUP list. Winslow, who has suffered significant and irreversible damage to the cartilage in his right knee, complained of lingering pain, stiffness and discomfort following the 2006 season. The team initially reported that the January 30 procedure on Winslow's knee was simply to fix damaged cartilage and clean out the joint. However it was later revealed that Winslow underwent microfracture surgery in hopes that his knee produces new cartilage so that he could continue his football career without pain or discomfort. For the record microfracture surgery is typically a "last change" surgery for active individuals who have worn out cartilage within their knee joint. In the procedure, physicians drill small holes into the bone near the area or areas of concern so that marrow seeps out creating a blood clot that releases cartilage-building cells. Athletes recovering from this type of surgery usually need 4 - 6 months of rest, treatment and rehab before they can resume activity. The Browns have said that Winslow's recovery has gone well, but they continue to handle him with caution. The problem with microfracture surgery is that the new cartilage created by the procedure is less durable as the body's original cartilage and after a few years the new cartilage can begin to break down. So even if Winslow works himself back for the start of the regular season and even if he plays this year without a problem there is a good chance that he will start experiencing problems again within the next couple of years.

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