Nov 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (90) in action against the Cincinnati Bengals at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
One Indianapolis Colts player thinks that the Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney will be “screwed” after undergoing microfracture surgery on his knee. This year’s #1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Clowney was recently placed on season-ending injured reserve by the Texans and is set to undergo the potentially career-dimishing surgery. It marks the end to an injury-plagued rookie season for Clowney, in which he appeared in just 4 games, registering 7 tackles and 0 sacks.
Playing collegiately at the University of South Carolina, Clowney was largely the most dominant pass rusher in the country at defensive end, winning several accolades like SEC Defensive Player of the Year, 2x First-Team All-SEC, and First-Team All-American. Blessed with incredible physical attributes at 6’6″, 266 lbs, it will be interesting to see if Clowney can still run a 4.53 forty-time or boast a 37.5 inch vertical jump post-surgery, his 2014 NFL combine measurables.
According to Colts starting right tackle Gosder Cherilus, who has previously undergone the procedure himself, Clowney is “screwed“. While Cherilus has maintained a successful career post-surgery, there’s a difference in their respective positions:
"“His game is all about explosion. That’s a problem. I’m out there dancing. I’m an offensive line[man]. That’s a different ballgame. He’s screwed. I’m just being honest,” remarked Gosder Cherilus."
It will be an uphill battle for Clowney to regain his previous form, and according to Cherilus, the rehabilitation is long and grueling and the prognosis sometimes bleak:
"“The doctor said, ‘I’d be surprised if you ever play again’” Cherilus said. “I was like, ‘My God.’ But I gave it a try. We did rehab for nine straight months. Three to five hours in the morning and then I’d come back and do some more later. Think about that.”"
Even before the surgery, a patient must stay off their leg for an extended period of time which deteriorates muscle and creates atrophy:
"“You see my leg right here?” Cherilus said. “Imagine putting this on crutches for 10 weeks. You lose everything. The whole leg was dumb. I couldn’t even walk. We had to teach the leg to do everything all over again: Taking off, cutting, everything.”"
Based on Cherilus’s comments, it appears to be a long road for Clowney on his way to a full recovery. Not only does he have to keep off his leg and lose his muscle strength, but he also has to undergo rigorous rehabilitation for at least 9 months. Once his leg is deemed physically fit, he must subject it to the sharp cuts, jukes, and sudden take-offs that come with the territory of attempting to be an explosive pass rusher.
The list of NFL players who have undergone microfracture surgeries and re-gained their previous form appears slim. Although according to Sunday Night Football Sports Medicine Consultant Mike Ryan, many more players have had the surgery and maintained successful careers, but have chosen not to advertise it due to the negative stigma often associated with it.
We wish Clowney the best in his recovery, just not against the Colts.
Nov 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (90) during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports