Seahawks Insider

A medical perspective on Sidney Rice’s injury

Post by Eric Williams on Sep. 20, 2011 at 11:09 am with 47 Comments »
September 20, 2011 11:09 am

With Seattle Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice’s damaged labrum in his shoulder a hot topic this week, I thought it would be good to reach out and talk to someone who could shed some light on how athletes with similar injuries deal with this situation.

So I spoke with Dr. Alexis Colvin, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics with The Mount Sinai Department of Orthopaedics in New York.

Dr. Alexis C. Colvin

Colvin’s expertise is sports medicine. Her clinical and research interests include surgical treatment of knee, shoulder and hip disorders. Dr. Colvin serves as a physician for the United States Tennis Association during the U.S. Open, providing orthopaedic care to elite players, and as served as a physician for the New York City Triathlon.

Now, Dr. Colvin has not examined Rice’s shoulder and does not speak specificly about his injury, but just in general terms of how teams deal with athletes who have a similar injury as Rice does.

Q: There’s been a lot of discussion about the different levels of instability involving a labrum tear in a shoulder, and how some players can continue to play while others need surgery. Can you discuss the process doctors go through in making that determination? And if a player avoids surgery, what are the tests that he or she needs to pass in order to get the okay to return to playing?

Dr. Colvin: “You can think of the labrum as sort of a bumper in his shoulder. The shoulder is a ball in a socket, and the labrum lines the socket part of the cup. And it keeps the ball inside that cup.

“So you can imagine that if you have a big tear in that bumper, it’s going to be a lot easier for your shoulder to pop out of place than if you just have a small tear, because more of the bumper is destabilized.

“So if someone’s shoulder is coming out when they’re just doing things like trying to put a coat on or reaching for something in a closet – something where it’s coming out when they are just doing regular, every day activities – we typically recommend doing surgery early to stabilize the shoulder and prevent any further damage to the cartilage or other things that could get ruined in the shoulder.

“Occasionally you can dislocate your shoulder and only have a small tearing of the labrum, or stretching of it. And you can certainly try to rehab the player and have them work on strengthening the muscles around the shoulder, and see if they can go back to playing. So that’s a situation where you don’t need surgery right away.

“And you don’t have to completely dislocate the shoulder. You have the ball and the cup, and either the ball can completely pop out of the cup, or it can just come out of it part of the way. That’s called subluxation of the shoulder. So what can happen is that also damages the labrum, but the tear is not significant enough to cause the whole ball to pop out.”

Q: What are the risks of playing with the injury in terms of contact and the possibility of further damaging the shoulder?

Dr. Colvin: “Certainly you can re-dislocate the shoulder and have it come out of place again. And whenever that happens, you can tear the labrum further. Or there’s cartilage that coats both surfaces of the shoulder on both sides, and so sometimes that can scrape, if can imagine that things are sliding back and forth around it. So those are probably the more common things that could happen.”

Q: Are there limitations to what a player can do in terms of his catch radius and being able to extend for passes?

Dr. Colvin: “It really depends on where the tear is. So the labrum goes 360 degrees around the cup. And you can dislocate or subluxate the ball in every single direction possible. So it really depends on the specific location of the injury.

Q: Ultimately will a player with this injury require surgery?

Dr. Colvin: “It really depends on if he’s able to play and it doesn’t dislocate on him or sublux on him, then not necessarily. It could be that small of a tear that it doesn’t bother him again.”

Q: So it could be small enough to where it heals on its own?

Dr. Colvin: “No, it will never heal on its own. It will scar down, but it’s not going to be the same as if he never damaged it. But he would be treated just based on his symptoms. So he’s not coming out of place, then there’s not necessarily a reason to fix it if the shoulder’s still pretty stable.”

Q: Whether a player has surgery to fix the issue or plays with the injury, what are the risks of the injury reoccurring?

Dr. Colvin: “There’s always a risk that it can come out place again. He’s in a collision sport, so that’s a risk no matter what.”

Leave a comment Comments → 47
  1. AaronCurryIsBUST says:

    Sounds pretty grim. Might as well place Rice on IR now and aggressively rehab him in time for Andrew Luck.

  2. “Sounds pretty grim.”

    Doesn’t sound grim at all to me. Sounds like an annoying problem but something he will recover from 100%…and same with Carlson.

  3. Soggybuc says:

    Nice info thanks Eric.

  4. williambryan says:

    100%? She says that it will never be the same as before the injury. I think Rice needs one of Mike Holmgrens famous talks about the difference between being hurt and being injured (DJ hackett had to have this talk). However, as much as I want to see him now, I really want to see him next year catching passes from Barkley/Luck/Jones

  5. Ewalters7354 says:

    Just place the man on IR for crying out loud!

  6. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Now is anyone out there starting to believe in the,(SOTAF curse), State of the art facility curse?
    Move that training facility to Alaska now! Before we lose anymore.Lol.

  7. OT
    Eric there is some sort of deadline concerning franchised players today, could you check on that?

  8. IR! He’s going to win us one too many games to get Luck if they let him play hurt!

  9. I actually have torn labrums in both of my shoulders, I can still lift heavy things, bump my arm off of stuff etc. I tore them over extending in freezing cold climates and actually dropped my cars transmission on myself, locked up both of my arms to catch it and pushed them backwards. This was like 7-8 months ago, and I guess it’s “scarred” because it doesn’t hurt too often anymore.

    I think there’s more to this story.

  10. partially torn*

  11. Without full range of motion, how can he catch poorly thrown passes? He will be vulnerable trying to catch bad pass and ruin hospital career. Save him for a REAL QB next year.

  12. ruin whole* career

  13. Tri-Post. Oh well.

    Here’s where I get concerned:

    ““No, it will never heal on its own. It will scar down, but it’s not going to be the same as if he never damaged it.”

    If it’s never going to heal on it’s own, then why is he being held out with hopes it’ll get better? It’s like letting a wrecked car sit outside until it fixes itself… it’s not going to. You need to take it to someone to repair it.

  14. Dukeshire says:

    Only the Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at Mt Sinai…? Come on Eric, you can do better than that. ;)

    It sounds to me like they’re trying to assess if he can actually play at any reasonable level without it popping out. And right now he isn’t able to make it through practice so it seems to me he’s staring the IR right in the face. My question is when did this happen? During practice? Did he come in dinged up and still manage to pass the physical?

  15. The only reason they would even consider playing him is if they were just one WR away from contending for the superbowl. Obviously, that is not the case.

  16. Dang, really nice work Eric! Thanks for getting the scoop on possibilitites for Rice’s (ie; my jerseys) outlook.

    Bobbyk, I appreciate that you are all-in on your suck-for luck motif. I’m having a hard time with just trashing the season and hoping for losses. Just feels dirty. Still, at this point it’s kind of like a win-win scenario. Lose and we get a high draft pick. Win, and we might get to watch our team win the NFCW.

    I’d like to see a few long bombs to Rice this season. Just some “good” football would be oh-so-nice. If we can draft Luck or one of the other good QB prospects–sweet.

  17. i hope they place Rice on IR before his shoulder falls off his body

  18. SandpointHawk says:

    Duke, I read (on another board) that the injury occurred in a non-pad practice when Tru gave him the ole bump and run. Haven’t been able to confirm so take it with a grain of salt…..Eric can you help with this?

  19. According to former Seahawk player Dave Wyman…if you think it TJacks might be an amateur…

  20. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Watch us now go 5-11 and win a four way tie breaker for the NFC west division title, then host a playoff game with Green Bay because Detroit wins their division.
    Then we beat Green Bay.
    It could happen! We are only one game out of first place. Of course that would put us back to the mid twenties for draft position.

  21. SeahawkFan12 says:

    Great interview, Eric. Thanks for this. I’m curious what the rehab time would be if he had surgery. In other words, if he played part of or the rest of this season and had offseason surgery, would he be back at FULL strength in time for camp and OTAs? Or would he need to get cut now in order to be back for all of next season?

  22. GeorgiaHawk says:

    If we can’t move the ball on Arizona then it really will be a long year! Just look how many yards their defense gave up in the first two games.

    And what happened to our special teams play? We could almost always count on them last year!
    Screw with the offense and defense, but not the special teams! It didn’t need fixing!

  23. 6-10 could very well win this division this year.

  24. “6-10 could very well win this division this year.”

    If that’s the case, let’s just hope it’s not us. If we’re that far under .500, I’d rather draft in our legit position than to draft in the 20s again. We need to address QB.

  25. Funny that last year when we were about to play the Rams for the division, I suggested it might work out better if we lost that game. Everybody here trashed me for saying that.

    We won that game, of course, and I was there in the south endzone cheering for my Hawks, of course. But if we had lost that game, we likely would have drafted Jake Locker at #6 or #7 last year.

    So now we have a bunch of people here calling for us to lose and suck-for-luck. Curious.

  26. AaronCurryIsBUST says:

    What an idiotic article by Wyman. That was easily the worst defense of Tarvaris’ performance I have ever seen.

  27. Did Nate Burleson ever get surgery to repair his torn labrum? Did he miss any games from that shoulder injury?

    Hasselbeck tore his labrum (non-throwing shoulder) in 2006 and I don’t think he missed any games. He kept playing and had surgery the following off-season.

  28. I think the Dave Wyman article is accurate. And he didn’t defend Tarvaris Jackson. Not at all.

    To paraphrase, Wyman says this:

    The current Seahawks offense stinks.
    Seahawks pass blocking stinks.
    Seahawks run blocking stinks.
    Seahawks running backs performance stinks
    And way down in the middle of this big pile of stink is Tarvaris Jackson,
    getting hit, harassed, and trying to do his job as Carroll’s conservative “game manager QB” even though he lacks the resources needed to manage an offense, namely, an O line and a running game.
    Way down in the middle of this big pile of stink called the Seahawks offense is Tarvaris Jackson with a 62% completion percentage.

    Maybe Tarvaris doesn’t smell so good either, but it would be impossible for any reasonable football scout to determine that, given that the stink of the rest of the offense is so bad.

    Apologies to Dave Wyman for the paraphrase.

  29. “Game Manager QB”… Christ.

    Tarvaris couldn’t manage a bowl of Jello.

  30. RAD, “a bowl of jello” is pretty much what he’s trying to manage these days. LOL!

  31. When will the Seahawks ever get a high end NFL quality RB?

    We were spoiled with Warner, Warren, Watters and Alexander for decades. Now we have nothing.

  32. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Now that I have come out of the clouds, (so to speak), from this last defeat, I realize that we havent really gotten much worse than the 2007 team that lost 21-0 in Pittsburgh. And that team was a veteran winning team.
    I now believe that we will take this division going forward, 5-11, 6-10, and find our franchise QB in the lower rounds.
    It’s the Seahawk way! Always has been. Why should it change now? Zorn, Krieg, Kitna, Hasselbeck. If we were to draft one in the first round then he would most likely become a bust.
    Has there ever been a team that has gotten more out of undrafted free agent qbs and lower round drafted qbs, and less out of first round qbs then the Seahawks?

  33. pabuwal, I would guess a new RB is on their list right after QB and DE.

    That said, this team had better figure out how to start blocking for Lynch and Leon, cause we are wasting the talent we have at RB right now.

  34. princeaden says:

    How ironic is that ? The first time in his career Trufant actually jams someone off the line, He dislocates his own team mates shoulder.. Un-Freakin’-believable!! Only in Seattle.

  35. “If we were to draft one in the first round then he would most likely become a bust.”

    That’s how I feel too, GeorgiaHawk. I wish the Seahawks had stuck with Hasselbeck, but since they didn’t, I wish they had traded for Matt Flynn or Josh Johnson or some other QB languishing as a backup. Wait a minute: they did that last year and his name is … Charlie.

    The injuries to Rice and Gallery are making fans of the Vikings and Raiders very happy. Every time PFT writes about the injuries, those fans have a field day posting comments. It’s similar to how we felt when the Vikings didn’t make the playoffs after Hutch signed with them. Many of us would have been pleased to see him fall flat on his face.

  36. I guess Wymann didn’t notice T. Joke’s accuracy and timing when he actually had time to throw, especially when he over threw their ass or lead them right into the defenders, sure the WR’s love that, that’s what we need another injury. 62% accuracy is do to his dump offs, which is pretty amazing that it is that high do to thats all he does and he stares down his target. Obviously the OL is a big problem, but I have serious doubts that T. Joke would be able to manage a game to victory, plus, that doesn’t even make sense. This is FOOTBALL, not BBall. A QB needs to lead straight up. I agree with Millen in regards to Bevell, WTF is he doing. The Hawks got the trifecta rockin’ right now w/T. Joke, the OL, & Bevell. Actually a superfecta if you add in the Special Teams.

  37. bird_spit says:

    I don’t want the hawks sucking for luck. I want the hawks to play well enough to work out the issues, yet still loose but with confidence building until next year. If we take any more shutouts we aren’t freaking learning anything.. I don’t want the hawks to learn to loose and accept a loser attitude. So no more sucking for Luck!

    Why did the hawks swap the tackles positions during a game?

  38. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Canfan- No doubt Hasselbeck was our best option at QB for the next three years. He may not be in the top tier, however he is certainly in the next tier, which is good enough for a superbowl win if the rest of the team can produce!

    Can someone tell me how Cam Newton can pass for over 400 yards in each of his first two NFL games with the worst team in the NFL from last year, and Jackson, well we all know the rest of the story!

  39. JoeinKirkland says:

    Georgia Hawk, because Cam is top of the first round talent and TJack isn’t. Not a fair comparison.

  40. Does anyone really believe Hasselbeck can play for three years? Two? I miss him, but seriously, I think he’s close to done.

  41. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Well, JoeinKirkland, here is a more fair comparison. Matt Hasselbeck, remember him? 358 yards at age 35! The titans fans are starting to warm up to him. Do you think that it’s getting a little more fair now?

    From a Titans blog.

    “Great stuff. Really like the tone in Matt’s voice. Seemed like a confident optimism.”

  42. Yeah, it was nice to see a Titans fan’s comment (on the SBN blog Music City Miracles) that they hadn’t seen such great quarterbacking since Steve McNair.

    If they give him protection, Hass will be a Top 15 QB this year. Many fans forget that he was once a Top 5 QB (for about three years).

  43. Eric forgot to ask Dr. Colvin a really important question: is she single?

    Smart and good-looking. A deadly combination!

  44. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Stevos- I believe Hasselbeck can play for three more years and play well! He is playing well right now and you refuse to or can’t even see it for whatever reason?

    Bottom line you can have your T whatever, and I am sure that the Titan fans are happy to have Hasselbeck!

  45. oscar_contender says:

    I wonder if Hasselbeck would have lasted all season, @SF @Pitt would have been a nightmare with this young o line, in a shortened off-season, 10 sacks on our offense already. Yeah, Jackson prefers sacks to interceptions, but the Titans have a good o line and CJ to take the pressure off of the QB. I think it’s a win for both since we are eying a QB in next year’s draft. They have a plan and we are starting to see it unfold. It’s going to be a long season if our Offense cannot gel soon! This division is still up for grabs, and then it would mean a home playoff game, or we watch A LOT of college ball and find our new franchise QB, I like Jackson, but they only signed 2 years, so next year for depth and knowing the system and mentor being the team captain and all. If Jackson Competes and surprises then we extend his contract, again win. So this is the winning forever that Carroll is talking about!

  46. Georgia, Hasselbeck is playing well right now. I never said he wasn’t. We’ve seen him play well many times over the past couple of years, for a few games at a time, before he gets injured again and looks like a 40-year old QB. The guys body won’t make it through a whole season.

    I was one of the people calling for us to re-sign Hasselbeck first last offseason. But for 3 years $21 Million? That would have been a stupid business decision. Hass won’t be starting for anyone much longer.

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