Seahawks Insider

Independent doctor’s opinion of Matt Hasselbeck

Post by News Tribune Staff on Oct. 14, 2008 at 2:56 pm with 32 Comments »
October 14, 2008 2:56 pm

With the Seahawks not allowing us to speak to their team doctors about their players’ injuries — heck, the players themselves are reticent to talk about their own injuries — I went to an outside source for some information, Dr. James Gladstone, the co-chief of sports medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, who happened to go to school with Dr. James Andrews, the doctor who did the surgery on the knees of Deion Branch and Nate Burleson.

When I explained what was going on with Hasselbeck, Gladstone said that it seems very unlikely that Hasselbeck’s knee injury in any way had an affect on his back. My own theory was that Hasselbeck hurt the knee, compensated for it by walking abnormally, which caused the bulging disc in the back to act up. Gladstone said that doesn’t sound plausible. He said something else may have caused the disc problem but it was not likely the injured knee. Or, Hass may have had the bulging disc all along and only now, because of the knee injury, is he seeing or feeling the additional effects.

He disagreed with Hasselbeck’s and Holmgren’s percentages of people with a bulging disc. Hass said he was told 85 percent of people have bulging discs. Holmgren said everybody. Gladstone said 40 percent of people walking around have bulging discs. “But it doesn’t mean anything unless it is pushing on a nerve,” Gladstone said.

He said that from Holmgren’s description of what is going on — the bulging disc is creating weakness in the leg — it sounds like the L2 or L3 disc is pressing on a nerve root and making Hasselbeck’s quadriceps muscle weak. That would impede Hasselbeck’s ability to plant or push off on his leg.

ESPN initially reported that Hasselbeck got an injection to treat the back injury. Gladstone said that was more likely a cortisone shot, a powerful anti-inflammatory. Holmgren said on Monday he did not know if Hasselbeck would get additional shots, but that he thought you could only get so many shots in a certain amount of time. Gladstone said cortisone shots generally come in sets of 3, so if the August shot that Hasselbeck received was the only one he got, he could another immediately. We don’t know how many shots he has had.

The big question, of course, is whether this is career threatening or something that will plague Hasselbeck the rest of his career. Gladstone said no, as long as the disc is not herniated, the symptoms can disappear either on their own or through physical therapy and possibly be gone for good. “A lot settle down on their own,” Gladstone said. “The question is whether they settle down in two weeks or in four to six months.”

I also asked Gladstone about Deion Branch’s heel injury, and whether that was possibly created by Branch maybe coming back too early from his ACL surgery. He said that Branch may have come back a little early, but his knee and leg should be structurally sound so the timing sounds about right. And he also said that the heel likely had nothing to do with the knee. “Sounds to me like he was just unlucky,” Gladstone said.

Leave a comment Comments → 32
  1. Excellent work, Frank! That kind of information really contributes a lot of value to this blog!

  2. Anniee882000 says:

    Thanks. I really appreciate you looking into this in depth. It has been very frustrating getting only vague info about all of this.

    Matt did sound fairly optimistic on his radio show this morning so hopefully that’s also a plus.

  3. chewy724 says:

    First off, Matt is best QB this franchise has ever had… period. With that said, Matt has 1 more good year in the tank. We need to start thinking about grooming a new QB. An immobile 33 yr old with a bad back and knee is not going to last very long in the NFL (especially with our O line).

    Seneca is not the answer (move him to WR). Charlie Frye is terrible. Ruskell, spend the first round pick (top 5 probably) on a QB. Tim Tebow anybody?

  4. Seattle12thMan says:

    I love a report who is willing to blow his own theories out of the water. Excellent Work!

  5. Why would we pick Tim Tebow with a top 5 pick when he’s currently projected to be a second or third round pick (by the “experts”)?

    If you stepped on some toes to gather this information (that, perhaps, the ‘Hawks don’t want known), who cares. Good job. Thank you for the read.

    Any word on when we may be getting Branch back? Any chance we could see Matt throwing to Branch against San Fran? It would be nice to see a game where Matt was our QB and he could choose from Branch, KoRo, or Engram in the passing game. Not to mention having Carlson!

  6. If ever there was a letdown for Tampa… they just crushed their main division rival and see us as a bunch of wounded losers (which we are; and old/slow/too small)…

    I wonder if there’s any way we can get lucky and win. And then if we could have Matt, Branch, Bobby, and KoRo for San Fran — perhaps there’s a chance???

  7. IdahoHawk says:

    You think Matt’s a better QB than NOW YOU SEE NOW YOU DONT Dave? I would have to agree with you.

  8. I have a bulging disk (L2-L3) and have been dealing with it for a couple years. It pinches on my sciatic nerve and severely limits my ability to go to my left. It is always much better with massage, chiropractic and physical therapy. I see no reason why Hasselbeck shouldn’t be able to play with this kind of injury given the treatments available to professional athletes.


  9. nighthawk2 says:

    Considering Hasselbeck’s political leanings, he wouldn’t be going left anyway.

  10. LoafOfTattooedPoo says:

    On Mike and Mike this morning John Clayton said something about it being a schiatic nerve problem which also runs down the leg. If that is the case then this is not as quick a fix as everyone is making it seem if the disk is pressin on it. I just hope that Seneca is ready to go for a few games, not just the TB game.

    I would take Stafford or Bradford over Tebow. But Tebow is projected as a 1st rdr. But if we are talking top 5 pick. Well, I think I would take Oher, Mays or Crabtree over any QB.

  11. nighthawk2 says:

    Tebow = bust (Florida quarterback history anyone?).

  12. chewy724 says:


    I’m sure you play QB in the NFL, right? You must know what its like to get hit by 300 lbs DT’s. Thanks for the analysis.

    When you say “go left”, is that where you go to grab a beer? Go easy big man. Don’t aggrevate that disk when you do your 12 ounce curls.

  13. Shattah206 says:

    Frank, great stuff. Thanks!

  14. Leroyhill says:

    that is fantastic due diligence. Thanks Frank!

  15. Dukeshire says:

    chewy724, If you have ever had any type of back injury, you would understand what he was attempting to say. Yet again reveal your ignorance.

  16. chucko24 says:

    Matt has an injury that reeks of seaon ending to me….I am glad we got forsett back:) Could we have been willing to give what dalls did for roy williams?

    I know you are all gonna jump my ish for saying that but my argument is we have not had a true number one since brian blades. (last pro bowl WR)

    Wouldnt that send a message that wernt punting on the Walrus’s last season?

    If Hass came back with Roy WIlliams, Bobby Engram and Branch………Bet the farm Hass would be happy!!

    maybe the problem is more than we see. Like the DEFENSE!!!! Ill take your comments off the Air…

  17. thank you Frank. nice work and much appreciated.

    as a family member of the ‘Hawks (Largent is my 2nd cousin.), i truly want nothing but the best for our team. so far, this season has been a bust. but i think we can turn it around and make a decent run for our division title and for the playoffs. call me crazy, but i still believe.

  18. stephentrapani says:

    If the disc injury is causing knee problems or leg problems, like weakness, it is definitely a surgical situation and the sooner the better. Generally those types of disc injuries don’t heal in the short term without surgery. This is bad bad bad for Hasselbeck’s season if true.

    There are other back injuries that can cause similar symptoms in the leg, hopefully he’s actually got one of those.

    How do I know this? I’m a chiropractor.

  19. Mr Hughes: What’s up with SW’s knee?

  20. mquinn73 says:

    chucko24 – “Could we have been willing to give what dalls did for roy williams?”

    In my opinion – no. Dallas is set up to win now or in the next 2/3 seasons at most. They are were ‘the hawks were back in 2004/05 – on the verge. Right now, the ‘hawks are looking at a rebuilding process for the next couple of seasons – trading away high draft picks [Dallas gave up it's first, third and sixth picks in next year's draft for Williams] for a veteran wideout is not the way to do that.

    I’ve said it before [and I'll say it again]… this team has a solid core of good, young players and the rebuilding of the team should not take very long – but it depends upon making the right decisions on player personnel [talent evaluation] and timing [of player transactions]. Personnaly, I think that we should trade Hasselback in the offseason to a team like the Vikings – we may get a first rounder in the following year’s draft [2010] for him. Other trade possibilities are Peterson, Trufant & Morris – but we might only get a 3rd rounder for Peterson, no one else may be willing to pay Trufant’s contract and Morris may have very little value. Another possibility – trade our likely top-5 pick in the draft to a team looking for an impact player and trade down for a lower 1st round pick and a couple of lower round selections [e.g. 2nd or 3rd and 4th].

    Quarterback is the most difficult situation to fill – but rather than go with a rookie, I’d prefer to identify a young guy with high potential but limited NFL experience who might be a safer option [like we did a few years back by getting a certain back-up QB from Green Bay....]. Personally, I’m very high on Brady Quinn but I realise that’s unlikely to happen.

  21. mquinn73 says:

    Apologies for the spelling mistakes… “were” instead of “where” and personnaly” instead of “personally”… no edit button…arrggh!!

  22. how’s that backup QB from another team working out for Houston?? And Matt Schaub was by all accounts a can’t-miss acquisition. Just saying, the FA back-up QB market is just as volitale as the rookies. Sando said long ago (and charted it like he likes to do) Hass struggles on EVEN numbered years for whatever reason… So, since ’09 is obviously ODD, he will clearly return to Pro Bowl form next year, the gods have spoken. But as for the subject at hand… Frye is further along in the offense than any FA or rookie and he has the physical tools to get it done. Give him more than one regular season start for the Hawks before you run him out of town. Also, he’s only 27… so he isn’t pushing AARP benefits just yet. Oh yeah, Wallace is only 28 too… not that he will ever be given a fair shot at the starting job…

  23. CowboysP says:

    mquinn73 – Agree with almost everything you said, with one exception.

    If the Hawks end up with a TOP 5 draft pick, these are currently very difficult to trade, because of what teamss have to pay a TOP 5 draft pick.

    For this reason, no TOP 5 pick has been traded in several years. The Dolphins tried to trade the #1 pick last year, and ended up having to use it, draft Jake Long, and pay him $11M+ per season for 5 years, BEFORE he every played in the NFL.

  24. For those who like Tebow…

    Tebow is an athletic QB being coach in Urban Meyer’s system.

    anyone else remember that other quarterback who flourished in Urban’s system? That athletic QB who was drafted really high and was supposed to be awesome? Anyone remember that guy?

    oh yeah…I remember…Alex Smith.

    I’ll pass on Tebow.

  25. NickLicatasucks says:

    Maybe Tebow will be a good pro, but at this point he isn’t worth more than a fourth round pick to me. The Hawks may take a QB somewhere in the draft that they want to groom, but unless they “have to” I see no reason for them to take anything in round 1-2. I’d like to see them build depth and dominance in the Offensive Line of Defensive Line before adding “skill” players. You cannot get enough talent on the lines. Also- I think this season has proven we need more talent at the WR position. Imagine if we had Eddie Royal? Maybe there is someone like him out there next year. A second rounder?
    Safety is another position where I think the Hawks can add talent. First round is always a spot where the team needs to take “best available” players and go from there.

    Carlson looks good for sure. I also like Lo-Jack, I just hope he gets better. He hasn’t been an impact guy so far- as I can see.

    Frank- great reporting on the injury stuff. This is good to hear. Hopefully Branch can suck it up and Hass can get back. If he cannot- fingers crossed for Seneca. That guy is a threat.

    Is it just me- or is Chase Daniel reminding anyone of another “too short” stocky QB from a spread offense?

    …Drew Brees. Reminds me of him. Wouldn’t spend a first on him, but he’s worth having around at some price.

  26. Dukeshire says:

    Tebow? Agree with the others, Next,PLEASE!

  27. Too early to write the epitaph on Hass’ career in my opinion.

    I see at least two more good years from him — and we have too many other needs to pick a QB early this year.

    Next year feels right to try and snag a QB to me. I’d go WR and Safety at the top of this draft (of course it never hurts to pick one low in the draft if you think you’ve found someone you can develop).

  28. yankinta says:

    I don’t care about any of this, as long as he’s ready for 2009. FOR NOW, GIVE ME 2-14 team and the following draft picks.

    1st Round.
    Malcolm Jenkins 6’0″ 195 lbs, CB Ohio State
    William Moore 6’0″ 228 lbs, S MISSOURI

    Second Round
    Derrick Williams 6’0″ 200 lbs, WR Penn State

    Third Round
    Saftey or CB (depending on the 1st round pick)

  29. njhawkeye says:

    Here is how I see it. Place Matt on I.R. finish his treatment or Surgery if needed. Sit Seneca untill 100% healthy. Start Charlie (this means season is over and a top ten draft pick 2009) and let him get some experience in WCO. This coming off-season.

    1.Sign F.A. Cornerback-prefer to be 6 feet or taller(move Jennings and Wilson for nickel and dime packages).

    2.Sign veteran QB to back-up Matt in 2009. Charlie will be 3rd string. Move Seneca to WR (not sure if free agent this year.,if so could sign him on the cheap)

    3.Sign Linebacker L.Hill
    4.Sign K.Robinson
    5.Keep Mare

    2009 draft

    1. D.Tackle or O.Tackle(prefer Left)
    2. O.Linebacker(future replacement for J.Petersen)
    3. W.R. 6-2 or taller please)
    4. Running back(keep J.Jones and Duckett trade M.Morris-4th round if lucky probably 5th)forsett 3rd string and or returner.
    5. O-line back ups
    6. Punter or doesnt matter after that just special teams fodder.

  30. montypyt says:

    One word!!! CHIROPRACTIC!!!!!!! Has their medical staff even considered this option.

    The “independent” medical opinion only mentioned physical therapy?

  31. ksigsmith says:

    Our first round pick will be Murray the running back from Oklahoma. Tebow will be lucky to be a first day pick

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