After a nightmare of a sophomore season that ended with an IR trip for Texans RB Steve Slaton, there are now whispers that he may not be in the picture at all for the 2010 season.
Slaton recently underwent a discectomy to relieve pressure on the nerve root that was causing a problem in his spine. The Texans brass said the surgery went well and that recovery will take from four to six months. Head Coach Gary Kubiak said the prognosis of Slaton is good, and he will avoid contact until training camp.
But John McClain from the Houston Chronicle is thinking there may be more to it than that. He went into more detail on the surgery in explaining that the herniated/ruptured disc had to be removed and a bone graft was placed in the resulting space (as a spacer), so that the peripheral nerves coming out of this space are no longer compressed. Yes, a four to six month resting period is required for proper healing.
But that is just part of it. After the healing period, numbness, pain and weakness, due to nerve damage from the previous nerve compression, may take months and months, easily a year or more in some cases, to resolve. And sometimes they don't resolve at all. The prognosis for nerve regeneration is directly related to the length of time the nerve is allowed to be significantly traumatized before a decompression procedure is performed. The greater the length of time, the greater the risk of irreversible nerve damage. And Slaton is rumored to have played most of the 2009 season with this injury.
It's a long way until September, but it may be smart to start looking for Steve Slaton's replacement sooner, rather than later.