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2009 Off-Season Rehab Report
Philip Gentles
January 28, 2009
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Tom Brady, NE – Torn ACL and MCL

Patriots’ QB Tom Brady, who had reconstructive surgery to repair torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee in early October, has reportedly been dealing with setbacks in his recovery and there was concern that he might not be ready for the start of the regular season. But there are now reports that his rehab is going well and that he is on track to be ready in time for training camp. Brady was hurt in Week 1 but there was so much swelling in the joint that doctors had to wait another month before performing the surgery. A week after the surgery Brady began to feel ill and it turned out that a small infection at the incision site had spread into the joint requiring an additional surgical procedure to clear it out. There were concerns that the ACL graft had been compromised and there were unconfirmed reports saying that doctors were on the verge of replacing Brady’s first ACL graft with a new one. As it turns out the clean-out surgery and antibiotics eliminated the infection. Unfortunately this setback put him at least two months behind in his recovery. Brady recently spoke with reporters and he said that rehab was “going very well” and that he continues to work hard in hopes that he can be ready for training camp. A month ago there were reports that he may end up on the PUP list when the regular season began. But there is positive news in his most recent progress report. Brady has now begun to lightly drop back and throw and team officials are optimistic that he will be back in time for the start of training camp.

Trent Edwards, BUF – Undisclosed Shoulder Injury

During the Buffalo Bills’ routine end-of-season physicals the medical staff discovered a problem in QB Trent Edward’s right (throwing) shoulder and there was concern that the undisclosed issue could require off-season surgery. The good news is that after being examined by three separate specialists the medical staff determined that the problem did not require surgery and team officials expect him to be fine for the start of OTAs. According to reports Edwards complained of minor soreness in his shoulder after the team’s final game but there wasn’t a noticeable loss in arm strength so the injury was not considered serious. But obviously the medical staff found something during their examination which prompted them to seek additional opinions. The Bills have not disclosed to the nature of the problem, but it appears that with rest and rehab he should be good to in March.

Brett Favre, NYJ – Torn Biceps Tendon in Shoulder

Jets’ veteran QB Brett Favre may have played in his last NFL after being told by team doctors that his injured shoulder must be operated on, a procedure he has said would push him to retire. According to reports Favre played the entire 2008 season with a torn biceps tendon in his throwing arm. The tear in the tendon is close to where it originates in his shoulder, which is why he experienced shoulder pain and discomfort. He aggravated the injury on a couple of occasions during the regular season and he said during an interview after the team’s final game that he would consider retiring (again) if his shoulder needed surgery. But it appears that Favre has backed away from his earlier statements and he has apparently told his family and friends that he still wants to play and that he will let the shoulder heal without surgery and he will try and give it a go after that. Obviously it will be difficult for him to work himself back without the doctor-recommended procedure.  

Alex Smith, SF – Fractured Shoulder

49ers’ former number 1 pick Alex Smith, who was placed on IR after breaking a bone in his shoulder prior to the start of the regular season, has reportedly made good progress in his recovery from shoulder surgery and team officials expect him to be ready for the start of OTAs. Smith was hurt while participating in a non-contact drill during a pre-season practice. He said that he began to experience pain in his throwing shoulder, the same one that was surgically repaired back in 2007, after throwing the ball in practice and the team feared that he may have aggravated the previous injury. But X-rays showed that he actually fractured a bone in his shoulder. Team officials have not said if the new injury was related to his 2007 surgery in which a hole was drilled into his shoulder and a wire placed through it and secured to his collarbone. It appeared that his recovery was going as planned however Smith had a piece of bone surgically removed from the injured shoulder in October. Things have gone smoothly since then. The range of motion, strength and flexibility in his shoulder have all improved and he has begun throwing the football. The medical staff has been pleased with his progress and they expect Smith to be healthy for the start of the team’s off-season conditioning program.


Reggie Bush, NO – Microfracture Knee Surgery

As expected Saints’ RB Reggie Bush had surgery on his ailing left following after the team’s final regular season game. The team initially called the surgery a simple arthroscopic procedure however GM Mickey Loomis told reporters that Bush underwent microfracture knee surgery. Bush has dealt with cartilage problems in his left knee since the 2007 season and he has undergone three arthroscopic surgeries in the last year. Unfortunately he has aggravated the problem several times since his last surgery and an MRI revealed that there wasn’t enough viable cartilage in his knee for him to return to a point of playing in comfort. So according to Loomis Bush underwent microfracture surgery in an attempt to stimulate cartilage regeneration. Bush has spoken to reporters since the surgery and he has downplayed the nature of the procedure. He admitted that there were some microfracture techniques used however he compared the procedure to a regular cartilage clean-up. According to reports Bush is already off crutches and he has been cleared by the medical staff to work out. He’s so confident in his recovery that he believes that he will be ready to go in time for the start of OTAs. That might be a little bit too optimistic, but it looks like he will be healthy enough to participate in portions of the team’s off-season conditioning program and minicamps in May and June.

Ernest Graham, TB – Severe High Ankle Sprain

Bucs’ RB Ernest Graham, who was placed on Injured Reserve after suffering a severe high ankle sprain during a game in November, is doing well in his recovery and team officials believe that he will be healthy in time for the start of OTAs. An MRI on Graham’s injured ankle revealed what the medical staff described as severe ligament damage and although the injury did not require surgery he spent nearly a month on crutches. He was finally taken off of crutches at the end of December and he has made significant progress in his rehab since then. If all goes well he should be cleared to participate in the team’s off-season conditioning program.

LaDainian Tomlinson, SD – Partially Torn Groin Muscle

Chargers’ RB LaDainian Tomlinson spent most of the post-season on the sideline dealing with a partially torn groin muscle, but the team received a bit of good news when an MRI a few days after the team’s loss to the Steelers revealed that the muscle appeared to be healing on its own and off-season surgery was not necessary. Tomlinson was hurt in Week 17 and he tried playing in San Diego’s opening playoff game against the Colts but he lasted only a quarter. He was inactive for the team’s next (and final) post-season game against the Steelers and there was growing concern that the injury would require surgery. But after undergoing an MRI and visiting with a couple of specialists it was determined that he could move forward with his recovery without surgery. LT told reporters that he will spend the off-season strengthening his legs and he said that he would be ready for the 2009 season. He’ll likely be limited throughout OTAs but he could be full-go for the team’s May minicamp.

Cadillac Williams, TB – Torn Patellar Tendon

According to reports Bucs’ RB Cadillac Williams is making steady progress in his recovery from a torn patellar tendon and team officials believe that he will be back in time for the start of the 2009 regular season. Williams, who missed 14 months because of a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee, tore the patellar tendon off the bone in his left knee during the team’s Week 17 game and he has since had the injury surgical repaired. Former head coach Jon Gruden told reporters that the injury wasn’t as severe as the one that kept Cadillac out for over a season and that he expected Cadillac to be ready to play by the start of training camp. Cadillac recently spoke with a reporter and he indicated that his rehab was going well and that he feels he will be running and cutting in no time.


Greg Camarillo, MIA – Torn ACL and Meniscus

Dolphins’ WR Greg Camarillo, who had reconstructive knee surgery in December, recently told reporters that his recovery was going as planned and that he planned on being ready in time for training camp in late July. Camarillo tore the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee back in November and he underwent major surgery to repair the damage two weeks later. He’s only 7 weeks into his recovery so even though things appear to be going smoothly he still has a long way to go. The advances in sports medicine over the last decade have truly been amazing. ACL surgery used to have a recovery timetable of at least 12 months and up to 2 years depending on the severity of the injury and presence of additional injuries. But NFL players can now return from ACL reconstruction to unrestricted activity in as little as 6 months. So there is a good chance that Camarillo will be back in time for the start of training camp, but even if he does he would probably be limited throughout the pre-season as a precaution.

Javon Walker, OAK – Dislocated Ankle

Raiders’ WR Javon Walker continues to recover from surgery on his severely injured ankle and his status for training camp and the remainder of his career is in question. Walker, who had screws surgically inserted into his ankle back in November to help secure and stabilize “separated bones,” is reportedly making steady progress in his recovery however team officials aren’t sure if he will be healthy enough to continue playing football. Regardless of how healthy he is, he has probably played his last game with the Raiders.

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