Offseason Surgeries, Concerned or Not?

Offseason Surgeries, Concerned or Not?

By Russell Manalastas (Injury Expert), last updated Sep 12, 2016

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Russ is a Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist and Clinical Director at Lattimore Physical Therapy in Rochester, NY. He has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University at Buffalo as well as his Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science. His board certification credentials in sports is what is required for PT's that work at the NFL level. Russ provides a unique perspective on NFL injuries as they relate to fantasy football.

Follow Russell on Twitter: @russmanalastas.

This week we’ll continue to run through some offseason surgeries that some notable players had and check their status for the upcoming season. We’re going with a new title this week, as some offseason surgeries that were performed are more significant than others which could spell trouble heading into the season. Let’s get right into it:


Packers WR Jordy Nelson

Hip Scope: Nelson underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean up some tissue in the hip that could’ve been causing him pain during running or cutting.

Bottom Line: Not Concerned. Jordy had offseason surgery last year on his lower leg and had no lingering issues. It sounds like the procedure he had done was just a clean-up in the hip to reduce irritation to the surrounding tissues in the hip joint. I would expect him to be used like he normally has been and should be a top contributor at the WR position again this year. 


Lions RB Joique Bell

Achilles/Knee Surgeries: Bell had clean-up procedures to his knee and Achilles in January. No specific information was given as to what type of surgery he had.

Bottom line: Slightly Concerned. Bell continues to make his way back from multiple surgeries to major areas that are vital to a running back. The thing I'm concerned about most is the lack of information given with regards to what type of procedures he had performed to his knee and his Achilles. The fact that we are in the first week of preseason games and he is still just doing drills on the side makes me wonder if there was more damage in Bell's knee than expected. He'll need to play in some preseason games in order for me to feel confident in drafting him this year. 


Giants WR Victor Cruz

Patellar Tendon Repair: The patellar tendon is the main tendon that comes from the Quadriceps muscle on the front of the thigh that attaches to the tibia (shin bone). The main function of the patellar tendon is to distribute forces from the quadriceps muscle to allow the leg to stay straight and to help control bending when standing. Rupture of this tendon causes complete failure of the quadriceps muscle to straighten or put weight on the leg.

Bottom Line: Slightly Concerned. As we discussed last year when Cruz initially sustained the injury, patellar tendon ruptures are a very long and difficult recovery. It seems Cruz has hit every goal so far, and the Giants felt comfortable enough for him to partake in training camp and hopefully in preseason games. He’ll only be 11 months removed from the injury at the start of the season, but although he might not have the explosiveness right out of the gate, he should continue to progress to be a nice compliment to rising star Odell Beckham Jr.


Brian Quick

Rotator Cuff Repair/Shoulder Dislocation: The rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles that help stabilize the head of the humerus (ball) in the socket (glenoid). If the rotator cuff is injured, it can prevent an athlete from being able to lift their arm overhead or in other directions without pain.

Bottom Line: Not Concerned. Bernard Pierce returned from a rotator cuff repair last year and didn’t seem to have any issues with his shoulder (although ineffective for most of the year, I don’t think his shoulder was the reason for that). Quick’s situation is a little different in that a dislocation can cause trauma to some of the ligaments around the shoulder, but immobilization after his rotator cuff repair should’ve allowed enough time for the ligaments to heal. Coach Fisher stated that Quick isn’t completely 100% recovered yet, but we should get a good feel for how he looks when he plays in preseason games.


Sammy Watkins

Hip Labral Repair: The labrum is a thick band of cartilage in the hip joint to help deepen the joint and further provide support for the hip. Rotational movements or movements that force the hip into its limits can cause a tear in the labrum. The athlete will report catching in the hip, deep ache in the hip and groin pain.

Bottom Line: Not Concerned. Watkins was limited early on during spring practices and OTA’s but has seen no real restrictions during training camp. He recently stated he feels 100%, and there is no reason to think otherwise. The Bills QB situation, and not Watkin’s health, will be the biggest question as to how effective he can be this year.


Dolphins WR Devante Parker

Screw placement for foot fracture: Foot fractures to the outer aspect of the foot may at times heal slowly due to the lack of blood flow to the region. If pain is still present in the foot even after the fracture has healed, a screw may be used to place into the area of the fracture to help improve the strength and stability of the area.

Bottom Line: Concerned. Foot injuries can make it tricky at times to return to full health, especially for skilled position players due to the amount of cutting and force being applied to the foot (Aaron Dobson, Julio Jones, and Demaryius Thomas all come to mind). The fact that Parker has failed to partake in the majority of the offseason program puts him behind the curve already, with the lack of conditioning due to the foot injury potentially being a concern as well. With the Dolphins having a number of wide receivers competing for only a few spots, Parker will need to prove he’s healthy enough to allow him to show he can be a productive receiver this year.


Dennis Pitta

2nd Fracture/Dislocation of Hip: Cutting/Twisting motion of the hip when the leg is planted can cause significant force which can lead to the ligamentous structures to not stabilize properly. The ligaments in the hip are so strong that if the hip does dislocate, a fracture is usually associated with the dislocation.  

Bottom Line: Very Concerned. I don’t think there is another NFL player who has undergone two surgeries to address a fracture/dislocation of the same hip. There are too many unknowns and variables to consider when and if Pitta gets the green light to start participating in contact drills. The arrival of Maxx Williams, Nick Boyle, and the emergence of Crockett Gillmore are all signs that the Ravens aren’t going to rely on Pitta's health this season or count on him in the future. I would spend no more than a late round flier in the deepest of leagues on Pitta as the lack of timetable for his return means he may not factor into this season at all. 

Filed Under: Preseason, 2015

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