Usually, I can write these posts in a lighthearted manner as in many ways I have become desensitized to injuries. In most cases, I know the player will be fine and that they will be compensated during their recovery and when they return from injury, so I usually ignore the feelings of the player as I am discussing their case. When it comes to Teddy Bridgewater and the devastating left knee injury he suffered, I can’t help but feel very bad for the person before even thinking about discussing the outlook.
Ironically I have a current patient with a very similar case. I know first hand how difficult this injury is to rehabilitate for someone who simply wants to walk down steps, so when I think about a quarterback going into the all-important third year having to face this, I really feel for the guy.
The reports suggest a completely torn ACL and dislocation to Bridgewater’s left knee. I have seen some reports suggest other structural damage, although all seem consistent with no nerve or arterial damage. The craziest part for me was that the injury is reported to be non-contact.
As I said I have a patient with similar injuries, but my patient was actually in a car accident which completely dislocated the knee by tearing both the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) as well as spraining the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and doing some serious damage to the articular surfaces of the knee-joint. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bridgewater also has injuries to his PCL as the PCL is one to the major ligaments holding the knee in place and by dislocating the knee the PCL is likely involved.
Many ACL injuries are non-contact, but to see a complete tear with dislocation from a non-contact movement is not something I have seen often. This shows that it does not always require excessive force to injure a structure, but sometimes the perfect storm of position and force can produce the same injury as a high-speed motor vehicle accident.
I don’t often attribute injuries to luck, but I can’t help but conclude that this was simply bad luck for Bridgewater. His neuromuscular system must have relaxed at the exact wrong time to allow his ligament to encounter such a force.
I think this injury will have a significant impact on Bridgewater’s career as it is very likely that he will need to have his knee stabilized before ACL and other ligament repair can be completed. This means that not only is this season completely done, but I would keep the door open that next season is in jeopardy. Teddy Bridgewater is likely to need multiple surgeries with this type of injury. I would assume the first would provide internal fixation to get the knee joint back in place; another to repair the ligament damage; and who knows how many arthroscopic clean ups he will need down the line as the trauma incurred during a knee dislocation is sure to leave some residual damage to the articular surfaces of the knee. I see no less than three surgical procedures for him over the next year, and then he will have the task of rehabilitating his plant leg to the point of being able to push off and throw the ball again.
This will truly be an uphill climb for Teddy Bridgewater, but he does have youth on his side at the age of 23, and he has some of the best medical and rehabilitation professionals on his side by being an NFL player.
As for the fantasy piece of this, I don’t think Bridgewater was very high on anyone’s list of draft picks. I had Stefon Diggs in all my Week 1 daily line ups before this happened and now may have to reconsider that. The Adrian Peterson angle will be the knee-jerk reaction for everyone, but I think Peterson’s value may have just gone down rather than up. In many ways this injury does very little to the fantasy world and I just hope that in the end that Teddy Bridgewater will be able to say the same thing with a full recovery.
Dr. Eric Petty is a Physical Therapist who is taking his talents from the treatment room to help fantasy owners. You can find more of his work at his site, The Injury Report Doctor, and you can follow him @DrPettyIRD.