Over the past several weeks, there has been a constant stream of updates that have not really updated anything when it comes to the status of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s knee injury. Officially listed as a sprain of the ACL and MCL in his left knee, the updates from the coaching staff has consistently said the team was still gathering information and trying to come up with the right plan to rehabilitate the injury which occurred on December 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Some fans immediately reacted to the inability of the team to say surgery could not be ruled out as a sign that the team was mis-handling the recovery, and that Tannehill should have already have had the repair completed in order to prepare him for the 2017 season. Nevermind that the team’s doctors, along with specialists such as Dr. James Andrews, were involved in the recovery and were doing the best thing for the player, clearly Tannehill should have already had surgery.
On Monday, news from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport seemed to demonstrate why waiting to make the decision and trying to see what rehab and time will do for the knee, rather than rushing into surgery simply to do surgery, made the most sense:
#Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is not believed to need ACL reconstruction prior to ’17 season, sources say. MRI today to confirm the good news— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 30, 2017
Rapoport writes in his article on NFL.com:
Tannehill has a benchmark MRI later today, and more details should be known. But at this point, after countless strengthening and rehab exercises, Tannehill's knee is stable enough to feel confident going into the season, per sources.
Tannehill's MCL, which was also damaged in the late-season hit, is actually giving him more problems than the ACL. MCL sprains aren't fixed surgically, and he will be fine long before the season.
Rapoport also adds that Dr. Andrews has already conducted one healing procedure on Tannehill’s knee and that the quarterback could head to Germany to get the platelet separating, regeneration treatment that became widely known when Kobe Bryant used it several year ago.
That is great news for Tannehill and the Dolphins. Could Tannehill need a minor surgery to clean up something in the knee, or will a surgery sometime down the road in his career be necessary? Possibly, but at this point, the doctors seem to think his knee will be fine without a major operation - one that would mean somewhere between 9 and 12 months of rehab, plus, often, another year to finally feel comfortable on the knee. Waiting for the swelling to subside, the knee to begin to heal, and for measures of how the knee responds to therapy seems to have been the orders from the doctors, and thus far, it seems to have been the correct prognosis.
The Dolphins, the doctors, and Tannehill are being smart with how they approach the rehabilitation of his knee, and nothing they have done has seemed to have been incorrect.