Over the course of last year, the Buccaneers suffered a rash of injuries but were able to overcome them as the season wore on. I will try and address each injury one by one and to give an indication of how it might affect each player for next year (if there is a next year). The list is of players who missed significant time next year and does not include Trueblood, as he was able to return within the year from a MCL sprain. I also did not include Winslow, who is constantly a walking wounded with his perpetual knee issues. As always comments are welcome.
Aqib Talib – His official injury is listed as a tendon tear near his hip. From the reports I have read, it sounds like he tore part of the quadriceps musculature off of the pelvic bone just above the hip joint itself. This injury is quite painful and limits one’s ability to flex the hip. It usually does not require surgery unless a large piece of bone is torn with it and Talib was able to avoid surgery. While it takes quite a bit of time to get over the injury, Talib should be fine heading into off season training and next season. The chance of recurrence of the injury is fairly small.
Gerald McCoy – Torn biceps tendon. McCoy tore his left distal biceps tendon from where it attaches to the radius in the forearm just past the elbow. This is a fairly common injury in adult males, though it usually occurs in a slightly older age group. His tendon was reattached without incident and once it heals in, there is really no functional loss for the elbow after recovery. He has already started his off season workouts and should have no restrictions or lasting effects for next year. The re-rupture rate is small, but given the stress he puts on the muscle he is at a slight risk for re-injury.
Davin Joseph – Foot fracture. In a previous post I spoke about how foot fractures can be quite troublesome for NFL linemen due to the push off they need to run block. These injuries can drag on for quite a while and are painful until they heal completely. With rest, they almost all heal completely and the risk of re-fracture is usually very low with a good healing. I would expect him to have no limitations heading into off season training and no restrictions playing next year. Of course, the Bucs need to make a decision on whether or not to resign him.
Cody Grimm – Broken fibula. Grimm suffered an fracture of the bone on the outside of the ankle. With surgery the bone in this area heals very well and results are very favorable. There is a slight preponderance of ankle arthritis many years down the road, but he should have no major restrictions in the immediate future. Reports are that he has already healed the fracture and has begun working out. He should have no restrictions heading into off season workouts and into next year.
Jeff Faine – Faine actually had two injuries. First, he suffered a quadriceps pull which kept him out of a couple of games, and then he eventually ended up on IR with a torn triceps muscle. Both injuries concern me, but this is mostly due to Faine‘s history of muscle pulls and injury than the injuries themselves. Faine had a triceps injury last year too, and with this handful of similar injuries in two years, it is concerning that he will continue to be plagued by injuries. Each individual injury will heal and he will come back without limitations, but recurrence could be a problem.
Quincy Black – Broken forearm. Once again, this should not be a big issue as fractures in young and healthy people usually heal without a problem and usually do not cause any future limitations or problems. A select few people will have some loss of rotation of the forearm after the injury, but this does not usually affect function of the arm or hand. He should be able to participate in off season workouts and next season without a problem, and risk of re-fracture is low.
Brian Price – Hip stress fracture. He reportedly had a screw inserted across the fracture site, and is doing well. This is not a very common injury and so it is hard to comment on his prognosis. The screw should help with the bone healing and as long as the fracture heals, he should be good to go for camp and next season. Why this fracture is different than the other ones on this list is that it is a stress fracture and not a traumatic fracture. Therefore, it can take longer to heal, and likely why he needed the screw inserted as the bone will not heal under stress and with abnormal movement between the bones. This will be one of the injuries to follow during the off season.
Kareem Huggins – ACL. My first post on this site was regarding this injury and I will give a brief recount here. This is a contact ACL injury and given that it happened so early in the season, he should be fully recovered by next year. The issue is for a running back with the injury, they have to learn to trust their knee on cuts and tackles, which can be quite hard. Hopefully, Huggins regains this ability and does not miss a step next year as he relies on explosive quickness. Re-rupture of the ACL is not a common occurrence, but it does occur.
Arrelious Benn – ACL injury. Benn‘s mechanism (non-contact) is better than Huggins, but his timing is much worse. He underwent surgery soon after the injury and had an isolated ACL injury, but it requires a 6-10 month recovery. Most players can get back to their preinjury performance level, but about 5-15% of athletes continue to have some type of restriction. Benn is the one player on the roster who actually stands to gain if the season is delayed or canceled.
Kyle Moore – Shoulder injury. I have not heard a reliable report as to what type of injury he has. Rick Stroud, from the Times reports that he will be ready for camp, but shoulder injuries can nag in general, hopefully it will not continue to plague him into next year.
Demar Dotson – ACL. See Benn and Huggins for the previous comments on the injury. Fortunately for Dotson, linemen do not have to cut like receivers and running backs and therefore has less of a risk for recurrent injury or lasting effects. I would expect him to come back without restrictions and perform well next year, which is promising as he was reported to be doing very well in camp last year
Derrick Ward – Strained Uterus. Ward seems to have recovered well from this injury when he called out the Bucs o-line early last year. He now has realized that he is a back up running back and not as good as either undrafted running back who starts for the Texans and Buccaneers. Hopefully, his condition does not flare up again and he keeps his mouth shut.
Looking over the complete list, the outlook is good for the Bucs with everyone expected to have a good recovery for the off season with the exception of Benn. I’ll continue to monitor reports and rumors and comment on them in the as they become available.