Indianapolis Colts: Deeper Look At Andrew Luck’s Torn Labrum

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s surgery was to repair a torn labrum, but what does that mean for him and the team in 2017?

Some clarity has been given regarding the surgically repaired shoulder of the Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback, Andrew Luck. Yet, for Colts fans, more questions remain than answers.

The surgery itself is something we’ve already discussed not long ago. There’s never a need to rehash things we’ve already talked. However, it’s justified given recent news regarding the nature of the procedure that Luck underwent.

Fox59 News in Indianapolis has reported that, per Colts owner Jim Irsay, the procedure Andrew Luck underwent in January was to repair a torn labrum:

Jim Irsay offered clarity regarding the NFL’s most expensive right shoulder.

Andrew Luck’s mid-January surgery was to address a slightly torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. The Colts owner added there was no issue with Luck’s right bicep.

“It was pristine, no problem there,” Irsay told Indy Sports Central Tuesday. “Everything went fine.”

So, now that we all know what it was and we can sleep peacefully, confident in the knowledge we have obtained, right? We can rest easy because his right bicep is indeed, pristine. Thanks, Jim!

Well, as stated in an article by Gregg Rosenthal with NFL.com,

Jim Irsay told Fox59 in Indianapolis that Luck had a “slightly torn” labrum, a regrettable phrase that sounds like calling your wife slightly pregnant.

As mentioned previously regarding Luck’s surgery, I’m somewhat qualified in matters of the shoulder, having first-hand experience with a similar injury, having had a torn labrum myself. For those of you not familiar with the term arthrogram, it is basically an MRI after a contrast dye is inserted into the labrum. I have had this done and I believe the terminology used in the findings was, multiple small perforations.

My curiosity took hold and I personally studied my images. In my own, extremely technical words – it looked like a round cheese grater with neon goop (a.k.a. contrast dye) oozing out every which way. So, how does that relate to Andrew Luck? It doesn’t, hopefully.

Does Andrew Luck’s shoulder image look like a cheese grater? No idea, whatsoever.

That is precisely the point — Colts fans still have no idea what to expect. What procedure was done? How much work was done? Was it done arthroscopically? Or, did they open his shoulder? Was there rotator cuff damage? Was there other damage? Does “slightly” torn mean one small tear? Or, multiple small perforations?

Keep in mind, the answers to these questions would likely lead to more questions for many. Short of many years in medical school, an in-depth experience with such terms, or an extensive medical dictionary accompanied with an abundance of time, the answers would explain very little.

The surgeon that did the repair would know, but if he values his career, he won’t utter a word about it without privacy disclosures in place. I have not seen the scans and imagery. I did not look under the skin to see what was there. I wouldn’t presume to know what I was looking at if I had.

My situation was worst-case throughout and it does differ greatly. My own labrum (along with other issues) was repaired via complete open reconstruction, where Luck’s procedure was an outpatient procedure, meaning he went home the same day. I went home the following morning.

I have a long history severe shoulder trauma, spanning a period of 20 years. Andrew Luck, on the other hand, has had a relatively brief period of issues in comparison. Andrew Luck is a phenomenal athlete; I am…not. Andrew Luck’s bicep is pristine; I have nothing even close to pristine.

There’s reason to be confident that his issues are not as extreme as my own. But again, we have absolutely no idea what was involved. Even if everyone scoured over surgical reports and post-op notes, we would still have very little idea what to expect in the future.

Even Andrew Luck cannot be certain of the timeframe for his recovery, the quality of his play upon his return, or even if he will return. This is a very serious injury and it has been masked with terms like “slightly,” “lingering,” and out of context “pristine.”

What Luck does know is how hard he is willing to work and how patient he is willing to be. He knows what timeframe the doctors have suggested and what likelihood of recovery was given. Luck knows fear and knows pain. He knows the hope that progress feeds and likely knows the despair fed by lack of progress. Lastly, Luck knows how much progress has been made.

This is a long, painful journey. Some days offer a noticeable improvement, whereas some days offer none. It is easy to feed off of progress, not so much from pain. We find ourselves in a guessing game and the only true answer will come with time.

But having a personal encounter with this injury and what it entails, allow me to pen a brief address to the Colts quarterback himself.

Mr. Luck,

My own experiences have given me an understanding of what you are currently going through. It is tough, frustrating, and monotonous to say the least. It hurts like hell. Yes, that was the politically correct version, hell doesn’t quite say it. If this was private correspondence I would certainly add a good many adjectives.

Stay strong and relentless, but give it rest as well. Do not be deterred by the slow days, all things in time. I hope you have adjusted to using your left hand with certain obstacles and I hope your recovery is prompt and complete. We look forward to seeing you back on the field.

If you ever need advice from a goofy hillbilly, feel free to look me up.

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