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Examining The History Of Microfracture Surgery In The NFL

The first pick of the 2014 NFL Draft underwent microfracture surgery yesterday. What does history tell us about the odds of Jadeveon Clowney making a comeback?

Did you know Dan Marino had microfracture surgery?
Did you know Dan Marino had microfracture surgery?
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Jadeveon Clowney had microfracture surgery yesterday. That's a sentence no fan of the Houston Texans wants to read, and it's not just because the memory of Brennan Williams' time with the team is still fresh.

Generally speaking, microfracture surgery is thought to be the equivalent of a death rattle for a professional athlete's career. Many players never make it back from the procedure. Those that do are often a shell of what they were before the procedure.

Armed with that fear, I did a little digging to see if anyone had done research on NFL players returning from microfracture surgery. Not surprisingly, Football Outsiders had. This article may be a bit dated, having been written in 2007, but I still think it's informative and particularly instructive for Texans fans who are looking for a reason to hope for the best when it comes to the possibility of a return from the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

While the statistics may not favor the idea of the Texans ever getting the fearsome pass rusher they thought they were drafting back in May, there is some reason to believe that Clowney may be able to follow in the footsteps of Dan Marino and Rod Woodson, both of whom had long, Hall of Fame careers in the NFL after having microfracture surgery.

Freddie Mercury, take it away!

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