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Chargers still have decision to make on QB's contract status

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2006/01/02/sports/professional/chargers/1106190139.txt" target="_blank">North County Times</a>

    By Jay Paris

    SAN DIEGO ---- Drew Brees probably wore a sling and a pained expression while welcoming in the New Year.

    That was expected from the way he exited Saturday afternoon's season-ending loss to the Denver Broncos. Brees dislocated his right shoulder in the game's second quarter, and the long-term ramifications won't be known until additional tests are conducted.

    If Brees sustained a dislocation and nothing worse, medical research shows he could be playing soft toss within four-to-six weeks. But if, as the Chargers fear, he tore the labrum around the shoulder, surgery would be required with a rehabilitation period of three-to-four months.

    No one from the Chargers' organization was available Sunday to comment on Brees' condition, but it is believed the fifth-year pro underwent an MRI on Sunday and that the results could be known as early as today.

    Jonathan Cluett, a California-based orthopedic surgeon, shed some light on what could ail Brees.

    "When the labrum of the shoulder joint is torn, the stability of the shoulder joint is compromised,'' Cluett explains on his Web site. "A specific type of labral tear is called a Bankart lesion. A Bankart lesion happens when an individual sustains a shoulder dislocation. As the shoulder pops out of joint, it often tears the labrum, especially in younger patients. ...

    "Typical symptoms of a Bankart lesion include a catching, aching, and susceptibility to dislocation; often patients will complain that they cannot 'trust' their shoulder. Diagnosis can be difficult as these injuries do not always show up well on MRI scans. This is more of a clinical diagnosis with the definitive diagnosis of a Bankart lesion made at the time of surgery. Patients who sustain a Bankart injury are at much higher risk for dislocating their shoulder again. Treatment of a Bankart lesion often depends on whether or not a patient has recurrent episodes of shoulder instability.''

    Having an unstable shoulder isn't good for NFL quarterbacks. Although ex-Chargers quarterback Stan Humphries' concussion led him to an early retirement, he also suffered numerous shoulder separations that hindered his play and often forced him to wear a brace to keep the shoulder in place.

    Surgery is an option if the labrum is compromised, according to Cluett.

    The injury might keep Brees looking over his shoulder, wondering what the Chargers will do this offseason. There has been much speculation about which way the Chargers are headed at Brees' position.

    Will they stay with the status quo by retaining Brees with either a franchise tag worth nearly $10 million or a multiyear pact? Will they trade Brees and cast their lot with the unproven Philip Rivers? Or will they keep both quarterbacks, which is feasible with about $20 million in salary cap space for next season?

    In any case, the dynamics of the offseason changed dramatically when Broncos defensive lineman Gerard Warren plopped his 6-foot-4, 325-pound body on Brees' right shoulder as it was awkwardly extended to try to recover a Brees fumble caused by a John Lynch hit.

    An equally serious blow was dealt to Chargers general manager A.J. Smith's leverage with potential suitors.

    No longer does Smith's pile of chips feature a healthy veteran quarterback with a Pro Bowl on his resume (Brees) and one with more potential than production (Rivers).

    Brees, for now, is damaged goods. Few general managers would give Smith what he believes Brees is worth without knowing if Brees' shoulder is repaired.

    The Jets' Chad Pennington is still trying to rebound from a similar injury suffered during the 2004 season. And former Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf ---- although he had other issues ---- was never the same after a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder was addressed through surgery.

    That injury forced Leaf to miss the entire 1999 season; the following season he won one of his final nine starts with the Chargers.

    In Rivers' first extended playing time in his two Chargers seasons, he looked like a player who needs more polish. That's not a knock at Rivers ---- the 2004 draft's fourth overall pick ---- but a confirmation that whenever and wherever Rivers becomes a starter, a learning curve will accompany him.

    Rivers finished 12-of-22 for 115 yards and an interception in the losing effort to the Broncos.

    But it's obvious that Smith can't peddle Rivers without knowing Brees' condition. And that could be months from now, certainly past the Feb. 23 deadline Smith faces if he wants to slap the franchise tag on Brees again.

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