News broke Tuesday that San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon had microfracture surgery on his left knee in January. The doomsayers have already come out of the woodwork, predicting Gordon’s career is already over after only one season. This type of surgery has a 4-6 month recovery timetable, which would put Gordon back to full strength by the time June training camps begin.
In microfracture knee surgery, small ‘micro’ holes are drilled into the damaged area of the knee. The damaged area bleeds out and once it reheals, it (hopefully) fully repairs the damaged area of the knee. Factors working in Gordon’s favor are his age and his health. At a young 23 years old, Gordon is much more likely to make a full recovery than an athlete who is much older.
Examples of successful returns from microfracture surgery are well documented.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce had microfracture surgery that claimed all but one game of his rookie season in 2013. Kelce was 23 at the time of his surgery. In the two seasons since, he hasn’t missed a game. He’s averaged 70 catches, 868 yards and five touchdowns. Each year he has finished as the sixth-leading tight end in the NFL. Last season Kelce was selected to his first Pro Bowl.
The most notable player in the NBA to undergo microfracture surgery was Amar’e Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns. Stoudemire, 22 years old at the time, had the procedure in 2005 during their infamous fast-breaking offense they dubbed “7 seconds or less.” From 2004 to 2008, the Suns led the league in scoring and would beat their opponents with speed, conditioning and raw athleticism. After Stoudemire recovered from his microfracture surgery, he led the Suns in scoring for two more seasons. In addition, Stoudemire made the All-Star team five times, All-NBA second-team three times and All-NBA first-team once after microfracture.
Houston Texans outside linebacker Jadaveon Clowney had microfracture surgery after being taken with the first overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. The jury is out on whether he will achieve the greatness he showed in college. He did start nine of the 13 games he played last season.
Microfracture surgery goes back farther than you think. Dan Marino and Rod Woodson both underwent microfracture surgery early in their careers. If you don’t know how they turned out, you can ask their bronze busts in Canton, Ohio.
The moral of the story: pump the brakes, San Diego.
The fact that Melvin Gordon had microfracture surgery is not a death sentence on his young, still promising career. Forget what you saw last season. The Chargers had 25 different offensive line combinations last season. Any running back in the NFL would have had a bad year trying to run behind that line.
The fact that Gordon underwent the surgery in January is to his advantage. With the upgrades the Bolts have made along the offensive line, the addition of Ken Whisenhunt as Offensive Coordinator and drafting of Gordon’s college fullback, Derek Watt, all signs point to a breakout season.
The best days of Flash are yet to come.
The Greg One
During the two weeks leading to the Super Bowl here in Phoenix the focus of all things statewide was the Super Bowl. Media, celebrities and athletes overran the capital city and a visitor had no shortage of NFL-related spectacles to enjoy no matter wherever in the valley they were.
One of the biggest events of the week happened Tuesday as media day took place at the US Airways Center, home of the Phoenix Suns. The floor of the arena was reminiscent of an NCAA National Championship where the student sections storm the court and swallows the team amidst the celebration. The floor was a mass of credential wearing humanity pushing and shoving to get close enough to get their recorders in a player’s face.
At media day, the throngs gather around the podiums of the biggest named stars hoping to get good sound bytes. Similar to Mardi Gras, some dress in ridiculous costume in order to catch the attention of a star and make themselves known, however ignominiously.
Why then, is anyone gathered around the podium of Marshawn Lynch?
We get the fact that he is the arguably, the biggest name on the Seahawks marquee. Lynch and Russell Wilson are 1 and 1A, in either order. Marshawn was fourth in the league in rushing, only 57 yards shy of making it to #2. There’s no question he is the most punishing runner in the league. A great quote from Lynch could move a lot of newspapers or at least get a lot of clicks on your website. There’s just one problem.
Marshawn Lynch is not interested in talking to the media. At all. Not even a little bit.
We remember last season when Deion Sanders found Lynch lurking behind a backdrop in the corner of the venue. Even the charismatic, widely respected Primetime wasn’t able to get much response from the enigmatic Lynch. He did get the catchphrase of the season though.
…I’m just ’bout that action, Boss.
It’s been no secret for many season now that sticking a microphone in Lynch’s face is pointless. He rarely talks to the beat writers for his own team, what makes the league think he’s going to talk to the rest of the media circus?
Lynch has accumulated over 100,000 in fines this season for refusing to speak to the press. He has added more to the fine toteboard for taunting as a result of crotch grabbing as he scored touchdowns. It’s clear to the rest of us, Lynch says all he wants ON the field, not off of it.
NFL players are mandated to speak to the media in their contracts. They signed it knowing that fact. Marshawn seems completely comfortable taking the fines and being left alone. The fines are likely tax-deductible anyway.
At Media Day Tuesday, Lynch sat at his podium and repeated the same phrase 29 times.
I’m just here so I don’t get fined…
Five minutes later he was gone. Even though they knew he wouldn’t say anything different, his podium was surrounded by media. On the second day of their mandated three days of media sessions, Lynch carried the theme over today too with a new line…
You know why I’m here….
This doesn’t translate to a t-shirt very well, does it? No merchandising opportunities here. Still, he was the object of everyone’s attention when all he wanted was to be left alone. Five minutes later he was gone.
On day three he did speak more than one sentence. He used his five minutes to rant on why the assembled throng continues to come to him when they know he has nothing to say to them. Great point.
These Lynch/media confrontations are painful to watch. It’s akin to the school nerd trying to get a date with the homecoming queen. He walks up to try to utter something resembling a greeting and in the midst of his stammering she stares at him like he is growing three heads. It’s as uncomfortable as a separated couple that still lives together. It’s like trying to hold an intelligent conversation with a Raiders fan. Time to face it media…
He’s just not that into you.
Why go someplace where you’re not wanted? In the interest of solving the problem I’ve posed, I offer the media and the league these solutions.
1. Leave Marshawn alone. Give him time to miss you. Perhaps if you play hard to get he’ll actually come to you.
2. Restructure his contract. Marshawn is a free agent now and while the Seahawks are (allegedly) looking to extend him for another couple of years, now is the time to solve this problem. Just as easily as the ‘must speak to media’ obligation is included in his contract, it can also be omitted in negotiations. Lynch will be happy to stay and the media knows he is a virtual ‘no fly zone’ in the locker room.
3. Fine him at the beginning of the year. If the rule can’t be taken out of the contract, fine Lynch the equivalent of whatever it will cost in fines to absolve him of speaking to the media for the entirety of the season. The NFL will donate half to a charity of their choice, Lynch chooses the charity of his choice for the other half. This will result in good PR in the form of helping the disadvantaged and will show the league is sympathetic to its players to the casual fan even though we diehard fans knows its the farthest thing from the truth.
This way, everyone can move on and do more productive things with their time. The media can move on to interviewing people who will actually talk. Lynch can hide out in the locker room scarfing Skittles. The league can focus on the much bigger matters at hand than an athlete who doesn’t want a close up for a change instead of bullying him into saying nothing for five minutes.