Overly op­ti­mistic?

QB Tan­nehill’s time­line to re­turn af­ter bye might not be re­al­is­tic

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS FRIDAY - By Omar Kelly

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.

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