QB Tannehill’s timeline to return after bye might not be realistic
There is growing skepticism from those in the medical community about Ryan Tannehill’s goal of being behind center for the Miami Dolphins in November.
And even a December return for Tannehill seems questionable even though Tannehill and the Dolphins target the Nov. 25 game against the Indianapolis Colts as his return date.
That timeline for Tannehill’s return from a capsule injury in his throwing shoulder has been labeled as aggressive, especially considering Tannehill admits he’s still experiencing shoulder pain, and anticipates having to tolerate pain for rest of the season.
“If he’s still experiencing shoulder pain, he should be shut down,” said former San Diego Chargers team doctor and sports medical analyst David Chao, an orthopedic surgeon. “Is it possible he needs surgery? Anytime you mess with a shoulder of a quarterback [surgery] is likely because of the nature of the position.”
According to Chao, if Tannehill tore the capsule in his throwing shoulder, at the minimum he should have been shut down for six weeks before he began throwing. Another orthopedic surgeon, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, verified this claim.
The capsule connects the upper arm bone to the shoulder socket. It can become overstretched or suffer a tear after repeated overhead activity or trauma. Tannehill falls into the trauma category because of a Carlos Dunlap sack, which forced him to land on the arm in the Oct. 7 loss to the Bengals.
There is a process involved in working the arm up to throw a pass, which Tannehill admits is the major issue. That process will begin during the week off.
“You don’t start throwing in the bye week and then play the next week in Indy,” Chao said. “It doesn’t work that way unless you’re being reckless.”
Tannehill, a pre-med major at Texas A&M, has been bullish on how he’ll be medically treated, going back to the knee injury he suffered in 2016.
Back in December of 2016 he opted to undergo stem cell treatment on his knee injury instead of undergoing reconstructed surgery. Eight months later Tannehill aggravated the knee injury in training camp and needed the ACL in his left knee surgically repaired.
Tannehill said none of the specialists he’s consulted has mentioned surgery as an option to repair the capsule injury, and everyone involved says rest is the only way for the capsule injury to heal.
“We haven’t had the jump that he was looking for,” Gase said. “That’s why we’re kind of taking a step back and saying, ‘All right, let’s go [rest].’”
The Dolphins have been using Brock Osweiler as Tannehill’s replacement, and he’s produced a 2-2 record. Osweiler, who has produced a 91.1 passer rating while completing 63.8 percent of his passes for 1,034 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions will start Sunday’s road game against the Packers (3-4-1).
Osweiler will likely continue to serve as Miami’s starter with David Fales as his backup until Tannehill is cleared to play.
Tannehill, who has a 92.9 passer rating while completing 65.9 percent of his passes and throwing for 972 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions this season, is earning $17.5 million this season, most of which was paid in a signing bonus this spring because the Dolphins restructured his contract to create salary-cap space. He is slated to earn $18.75 million in 2019, but if designated as a June 1 release, his entire salary would come off the books.