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NFL Injuries

The curious case of Andrew Luck-Dr. Morse



Photographer: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

Andrew Luck, the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, had a very solid 2016 NFL season. In 15 games he completed 346 passes with a 63.5% completion rate for 4,240 yards. Throwing for 31 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions, adding 341 rushing yards with 2 additional TDs. Now what if I told you that Luck had been playing for the past year and a half with a tear in the labrum of his throwing shoulder; impressive to say the least. Luck is more accurate and has better arm strength with a torn labrum (to what extent we do not know) than most other quarterback with (presumably) healthy shoulders. Imagine what he can do with a healthy shoulder!

How long has Luck been dealing with this shoulder injury?

It appears that Andrew had been dealing with this for a long time even requiring weekly corticosteroid and other painkilling-injections before games as far back as 2015. Despite resting for the entirety of the 2015 offseason, presumably not throwing, Luck’s shoulder did not improve significantly. So much so that last season (2016) he required mandatory off-days on Thursdays to help with the pain. This is not routine, as he should be able to throw on Thursdays during the regular season if there isn’t any pain or issues. Obviously Luck was dealing with a significant amount of pain, and he was only able to cope with it using a combination of rest, scheduled non-throwing days, NSAIDs, steroid/pain-killing injections, and intense rehabilitation. Luck knew that once the 2016 NFL season ended, he had to do something about the pain in his shoulder.

Unfortunately the labrum of Andrew Luck’s shoulder did not respond to every possible form of conservative therapy, and the decision was made to undergo surgery in January 2017. By completing this surgery, Luck can ensure that his shoulder will be fully healed and be able to start to the season strong for the first time in at least a year and a half. Roughly one-year-ago Luck signed a monster 6-year $140 million deal with the Colts, $47 million fully guaranteed. It is safe to say that Luck is the Colts’ franchise player. They need to make sure that he is healthy to take on the season as he is a staple in their offense and vital to their potential playoffs and Super Bowl hopes.

What type of surgery did Luck have?

Shortly after the surgery was completed, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay claims that Luck underwent a “simple labrum repair” and that everything went really well. Based on reports, it appears that Luck underwent simple arthroscopic labral repair, and there was no bicep muscle, humerus, or the rotator cuff involvement (or subsequent repair). Who was the last major NFL QB to undergo this surgery? The first one that comes to mind that underwent this same type of surgery was Drew Brees in 2006. Brees’ surgery involved a larger part of the labrum, as he underwent what is called a complete labrum tear repair, by the famous Dr. James Andrews. To speak to the efficiency and importance of the surgery, Drew Brees claims that the operation saved his career. And by the level that he is still playing, I think that is safe to say.

If you’ve read my last two NFL related articles, about Travis Kelce and Cam Newton, you know that I’ve talked about the shoulder quite a lot lately. Unfortunately for Luck his injury was different from that of the two aforementioned players. Luck’s shoulder injury is much more significant, in that a typical recovery from labral repair surgery can be anywhere from 6 to 9 months.

What is a shoulder labrum?

Since we have not discussed the labrum of the shoulder in detail yet, let’s briefly discuss it now. Think of the labrum as a strong smooth ring of cartilage that encircles the shoulder to help support and stabilize it. This labrum helps deepen the shoulder joint/socket by up to 50%, so that the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) has a better fit. Additionally it helps to serve as the attachment site for several important ligaments and tendons, like the biceps tendon, which attaches to the top portion of the labrum.

What is the most common way to injure or tear your labrum?

The most common injuries resulting in a torn labrum are from either acute trauma or repetitive shoulder motions. It is unclear if Luck sustained either or both of these or just a combination of his repetitive throwing over the years that caused this tear. Some of the other examples of causes include falling on an outstretched arm, a direct blow to the shoulder, or a violent overhead reach, as if trying to stop a fall. As you can tell all of these things could have easily happened in the middle of the brutal game that we call American football. Luck could have sustained a direct blow to the shoulder in any one of his dropbacks, or in the middle of getting hit where he could have put his outstretched arm out trying to break his fall. It is unclear exactly when or how the injury happened, we just know that it indeed was torn. Baseball pitchers are prone to labral tears because of the act of throwing causes the biceps tendon to pull strongly against the top part of the labrum. Similarly, weightlifters and golfers can suffer labral tears due to the nature of their sports as well.

What are the most common symptoms of a labral tear?

 Patients who have suffered labral tears often complain of pain with overhead activities. They can also experience popping, locking, catching or grinding of the shoulder as well. Although not as common, some people complain of shoulder pain at night or pain with everyday routine activities. The most common complaints are experiencing a decreased range of motion, loss of strength and feeling that the shoulder is ‘unstable.’

How is a labral tear diagnosed?

Similar to most other sports injuries, a thorough physical examination is the first step. If a labral tear is suspects, typically the best course of action is to start with shoulder X-rays and then progress to either CT or MRI using contrast medium (dye) which helps to identify the tear better.

What should I expect from Andrew Luck this upcoming season?

Andrew Luck is currently being drafted this season as the 4th quarterback this fantasy football season, with the 6th pick in the 5th round, 54th overall. He is being drafted after Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, and before the likes of Matt Ryan, Derek Carr and Cam Newton. I think this is a very good spot for Luck, but I’d prefer to wait a round or two if am able to. I think Luck has the potential to put up monster numbers this upcoming season, especially now that he has a healthy throwing shoulder. Would I personally draft Luck as my team’s starting/primary QB? Yes. Knowing how effective Luck was with a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, and understanding that he can be even better now that is now fixed has me drooling at the mouth. Draft him as a top-5 QB with confidence!

This was written for the @TheFantasyDRS by Dr. Jesse Morse. I am a Family Medicine trained physician, and I am currently completing a Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of South Florida in Tampa. If you have any questions or comments, you can contact me directly at @DrJesseMorse or visit my website at: Keep an eye out for my next article!

Jesse A Morse, MD is a fellowship-trained sports medicine doctor practicing in Miami, Florida. He specializes in Regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal ultrasound, fractures and, non-surgical orthopedics. Dr. Morse treats professional athletes regularly and understands their mindset and how to get them back on the field. Born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, Dr. Morse grew up watching the Larry Bird led Boston Celtics, the Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez led Boston Red Sox, and then the Tom Brady led Patriots win multiple championships. Dr. Morse has served on the medical staff of multiple professional teams, including the Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Miami Marlins. In his spare time, Dr. Morse loves exercising, sports cars, and playing fantasy sports/DFS.

NFL Injuries

NFL Week 8 Injury Review



As week eight comes to a close, unfortunately we saw several big-name players again go down with injury. The San Francisco 49ers continue to be ravaged by injury, as they likely lost both George Kittle and Jimmy Garoppolo for the remainder of the season. Kittle fractured a bone in his foot, and Garoppolo re-injured his high ankle sprain. Add in Tevin Coleman, who was recently activated off IR due to a knee injury, re-injured the same knee and is awaiting additional imaging.

On Thursday night football Teddy Bridgewater suffered a potentially serious neck injury, but thankfully got lucky and no significant injury was done. He should play in week nine. In that same game, unfortunately Falcons elite wide receiver Calvin Ridley suffered a midfoot sprain which would likely keep them out a couple of weeks.
Week nine should finally see the return of elite running back Christian McCaffrey. Fellow running backs Miles Sanders, Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon, Mark Ingram and Aaron Jones are all likely to miss at least one more week with their respective injuries.
The Packers play on Thursday night, and Aaron Jones’ calf injury likely has not had enough time to heal to allow him to play on Thursday.
We found out that Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback Gardner Minshew has been playing with multiple fractures and a ligament injury in his throwing thumb. Whether or not he needs surgery, he is likely to miss the next 2+ weeks.
Jets quarterback Sam Darnold re-injured his throwing shoulder, as he was dealing with an AC sprain and is questionable to play in week nine. Jamison Crowder is still dealing with a groin injury and has missed the past several weeks. Breshad Perriman also failed to play in week eight secondary to not clearing the concussion protocol yet.
The Colts saw Michael Pittman return after suffering that crazy injury where he had to undergo emergency surgery on his calf. Parris Campbell should not be too far behind him. Unfortunately T.Y. Hilton suffered a groin strain and is likely to miss at least a week, maybe a couple. Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor, who has disappointed so far, at least based on expectations, suffered an ankle injury and his week nine status is in question.
The Rams Darrell Henderson Jr. re-injured his thigh, but appears to be able to play after the bye. Cooper Kupp, fresh off of a monster game, appears to have injured his wrist. Expect additional imaging to rule out possible fracture.
The Seattle Seahawks backfield was really banged up going into week eight, as Chris Carson, dealing with a midfoot sprain, and Carlos Hyde, dealing with a hamstring strain both missed the game. Travis Homer, who is dealing with a bone bruise in his knee, and DeeJay Dallas both saw carries.
The Steelers Diontae Johnson seems to be injured more than he has been healthy. He injured his hamstring early in the game, but still managed to run the most routes on the day, but only managed to catch one pass on the day.
The Lions Kenny Golladay suffered a hip injury, that looks like it may keep them out a couple weeks, and he is a possible temporary IR candidate.
The Tennessee Titans Adam Humphries sustained a scary back and neck injury, but thankfully managed to avoid any life-changing injuries other than a concussion after being carried off on a stretcher.
Surprisingly the Eagles activated Dallas Goedert, less than a month after sustaining a non-displaced fracture in his ankle, only one week before their bye week. He was not very effective in his first game back. Jalen Reagor, also activated, flashed his potential and reeled in a touchdown. Miles Sanders should return after their bye, possibly Alshon Jeffery too.
The majority of these injuries were covered in this injury review video:
Top Recent Videos: Jimmy G (Dr Morse): Jimmy G (surgeon take): George Kittle (surgeon take): George Kittle: Kenny Golladay: Jonathan Taylor: Darrell Henderson Jr.: Cooper Kupp: T.Y. Hilton: Trent Brown: Tevin Coleman: Adam Humphries: Diontae Johnson: Tua Tagovailoa: Saquon Barkley update: Allen Lazard: Calvin Ridley: Gardner Minshew:

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NFL Injuries

Podcast: NFL Week 8







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NFL Injuries

NFL Injury Review-Week 7



Heading into week seven of the 2020 NFL season there were a ton of injuries to keep track of.

Thursday nights game saw a couple injuries that bear monitoring. The New York Giants Devonta Freeman suffered an ankle injury of unknown severity, possibly a high-ankle sprain. Eagles DeSean Jackson suffered a significant ankle injury similar to teammate Dallas Goedert, likely a combination of non-displaced ankle fracture as well as high ankle sprain, and should likely miss at least six weeks. However there is some good news, and that Jalen Reagor is expected to be activated off IR and should play in week eight.
Several of the consensus top 20 running backs were injured in some capacity, and Miles Sanders, Mark Ingram, Joe Mixon and Aaron Jones were all added to that list over the past week.Aaron Jones suffered a calf injury late in the week and was inactive for Sunday’s game.

In the early games Dak Prescott’s replacement, current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton suffered a head injury secondary to a dirty hit that knocked him out of the game. He was diagnosed with a concussion.

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock appeared to have suffered a knee injury, however this was only a minor concern and he didn’t miss any time.
Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay sustained a concussion.
The San Francisco 49ers ran all over the New England Patriots, but 49ers got even more injured in the process. Losing Deebo Samuel to a hamstring strain for a couple weeks, as well as fill in running back Jeff Wilson Jr., shortly after scoring his third touchdown of the day, suffered a high-ankle sprain, and is likely going to short term IR. On the opposite side of the ball Patriots’ wide receivers Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry both struggled, Edelman with a knee injury, and Harry appear to have sustained a concussion.
The most significant injury of the day belonged to Odell Beckham Jr., who unfortunately suffered a season-ending torn ACL after trying to track down an opposing defender who just intercepted a pass.
Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook appears to also have sustained a torn ACL. The Jets finally got to active stud rookie Denzel Mims after suffering double-hamstring strains early in camp, but were without Jamison Crowder due to a groin injury and then Breshad Perriman sustained a concussion.
The Steelers Diontae Johnson, who has struggled with injuries, was targeted 15 times, scoring two touchdowns but unfortunately suffered what appears to be a minor ankle injury.
The Chargers Virgil Green in the middle of catching a touchdown pass suffered an ankle injury and possible fracture.
The Sunday night game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks was a shootout. Unfortunately many of the running backs in this game sustained injuries. Kenyan Drake suffered a high-ankle sprain and is likely out at least 3 to 4 weeks, and will go to temporary IR. It’s Chase Edmonds time.
Three of the four Seattle Seahawks running backs sustained injuries. Stud Chris Carson sustained a mild midfoot sprain, commonly described as a LisFranc, that should keep them out at least two weeks, possibly longer. His back up Carlos Hyde sustained a hamstring injury, and third string running back Travis Homer sustained a knee injury. Both Hyde and Homer are questionable for week eight.
In the Monday night game, the Los Angeles Rams were without tight end Tyler Higbee who is dealing with a hand injury. Running back Darrell Henderson was also dealing with a thigh injury, but played well and Robert Woods a groin injury but managed to play. Bears stud wide receiver Allen Robinson was being evaluated for a concussion at the end of the game.
Here is a video injury review:
Several individual videos of players injuries are listed below as well:
Until next week!

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