03-16-2006, 01:30 PM
1000 Posts +
Join Date: Apr 2005
I don't know if this has been posted, but I think it gives some good information:
Saints officials and a quarterback-turned-orthopedic surgeon concede that signing a passer just 69 days removed from shoulder surgery comes with inherent risks.
"But," General Manager Mickey Loomis said Wednesday, "we feel like it's acceptable for the (potential) reward involved."
North shore orthopedist Dr. Roch Hontas, Tulane's quarterback from 1976 to 1979, said Drew Brees' recovery from surgery to repair a torn labrum and partially torn rotator cuff in his right, throwing shoulder should go well considering his age (27), the previous health of his shoulder and the surgeon who made the repair, noted sports orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.
"If anyone can recover from that," Hontas said, "I would think Drew Brees can."
Andrews, through his public relations representative, declined to be interviewed regarding Brees' surgery, performed arthroscopically Jan. 5 in Birmingham, Ala.
Brees sustained a dislocated right shoulder in San Diego's season finale against Denver when he was blindsided in the Chargers' end zone by Broncos safety John Lynch. The hit caused a fumble, and as Brees dived for the ball, Denver defensive tackle Gerald Warren landed on Brees' shoulder.
In virtually all shoulder dislocations, some orthopedists say, the labrum, a cartilage that rims the shoulder socket and helps keep the ball atop the humerus bone within the socket, is torn.
In Brees' case, surgeons also found a slight tear in the rotator cuff.
Hontas said the easiest labral tear from which to recover would be one that was "clean" as opposed to "ragged."
"It's like a tear in a pair of shoes," Hontas said. "With a nice clean tear, a shoesmith can stitch it up as good as new. If it becomes extensive, you throw the shoes away. You can look at labral tears in a similar manner. Some are amenable to repairs. The more jagged or ragged the tears become, it's inversely proportional to the amount of recovery that can be expected."
Hontas said surgeons repair such tears with fasteners, or tacks, reconnecting the tissue to the bone. Clean tears, Hontas said, make the easiest and most successful repairs.
Brees, who met the media at the Saints' practice facility Wednesday after signing a six-year, $60 million contract, said he was unsure whether his tear was clean or jagged.
"But I know it was torn," Brees said. "They call (the fasteners) 'anchors.' They anchored it down. All I know is that I was fixed, and I had an MRI recently, a couple of days ago, that basically showed the repair is as well done as it can be and everything is as it should be at this point. I'm very happy about that."
Hontas said recovery from the rotator cuff injury would depend on the extent of the tear.
"If it had a relatively small tear that can also be treated surgically through the arthroscope and (the surgeon) just put a suture or two in there, then the prognosis is pretty good," Hontas said. "But in the same way you think about the labral tear, a more involved treatment, more sutures, more exposure to fix, then your chances of complete recovery start decreasing."
Brees said surgeons assured him the damage was minor and easily repaired.
"There was just one anchor put in the cuff," Brees said. "To me and to the doctors, they said, 'Your rotator cuff was repaired in that spot but it's a non-issue.'
"I've been very honest and up front from the beginning. It was a 360-degree tear of the labrum and then my rotator cuff, a small portion was torn. I look back on when I did it to now, and everything could not have been better. The surgery went absolutely perfectly and my rehab to this point, I'm four weeks ahead of schedule. Everybody I work with, doctors, physical therapists, all tell me I'm as far along as you could be at this point."
Loomis said Brees brought the team DVDs of the surgery, which the Saints' orthopedists and training staff thoroughly reviewed, in addition to speaking with Andrews.
"Believe me," Loomis said, "I hit them pretty hard about the prognosis. 'What can we expect? What's the rehab time? What do we need to do? What are the long-term consequences?' We asked all the questions. We got our answers.
"Obviously, medical science isn't exact. There's a risk here, but the risk is financial. And opportunity. If we don't take a quarterback with the second pick, we miss that opportunity. But we're still getting a pretty good player."
Brees said he's working on his rehabilitation six hours per day, will be throwing again by late April and plans to be fully prepared to do everything asked of him by training camp in July.
"All this speculation, especially in this process where people just like to drag you down, it makes me laugh on the inside," Brees said. "In six months, they'll be eating their words."
As Loomis points out, though, medical science isn't exact.
Hontas said that injuries such as the one Brees sustained can, at times, be career-threatening.
"I think it certainly can be with a high-performance athlete who does a lot of overhead activities," Hontas said. "I can't cite examples of quarterbacks and pitchers who've had labral tears and had them affixed and addressed from which they've not completely recovered.
"But I can assure you there are some who've either lost that edge of performance or simply just retired as a consequence of that injury."
So this is some good news. I don't think people were as scared of the labrum tear as they were of the damage to the rotator cuff. However, this article says that the damage to the rotator cuff was very minor, and they fixed it completely.
I also love his attitude, when he says that his doubters will be "eating their words."