Dr. David Chao, an orthopedic surgeon with many years of experience as a physician within the NFL, joined SportsRadio 610 yesterday to give his anecdotal medical opinion on Arian Foster’s groin injury, as well as why he thinks the recovery may be short enough to not warrant an injured reserve designation.
"I would encourage you, the fans, to stay optimistic. Obviously this is an issue that he needs surgery and that’s not something that people should look upon lightly. However, I don’t know that it’s the doom and gloom. I’m very hopeful that, based on my experience and not based on an exam of Arian or looking at an MRI because obviously if I had done that I wouldn’t be able to comment based on HIPAA laws and what have you, but based on reading the tea leaves from insider knowledge and my years of experience in the NFL, I’m hopeful that this is not a true orthopedic groin muscle tendon detachment where the group of adductor muscles are pulled off the bone and it requires surgery."
"My evidence for that is that it would be very unusual in that case for that [injury] based off of one cut without something more traumatic, number one. Number two is that as you all know that the Texans have an excellent orthopedic surgeon in Dr. Lowe on their medical staff. There is no reason for Arian to go to Philadelphia to have this procedure done, and the fact that he is going to Philadelphia to see a general surgeon leads me to believe that this is a sports hernia, core-muscle injury type of thing as opposed to if the entire mass of the groin muscle was pulled down. If the entire mass of the groin muscle were pulled down, that’s a three plus month recovery and a tough one to the point where maybe even the season would be in potential jeopardy. But with core muscle repair surgery or this sports hernia surgery, that recovery could be as quick as 4-6 weeks."
"If we look at Jadeveon Clowney from last year, I believe that it was before the season in mid-June, that he had sports hernia surgery in Philadelphia and he returned for the first training camp process five weeks later. Although I don’t know that he was a hundred percent at five weeks, he still passed his physical and participated, so that’s where I hope some of the optimism is coming from. And if that’s the case then there is a chance that the Texans may not even need to use an injured reserve/designated to return tag for Arian. So we can keep our fingers crossed, however you really need your groin as a running back to run, cut and burst. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Texans [keep him out for] 4-6 weeks to give him an extra couple of weeks so that he doesn’t have chronic problems all season. Hopefully it’s the better side of the news for the surgery."
Obviously this kind of speculation is just that – speculation – but the fact that Dr. Chao has such extensive experience in this field lends a lot of credibility to his theory. Dr. Walt Lowe is an excellent orthopedic surgeon who likely would have been the man to perform the surgery if Foster’s groin muscles were indeed "ripped off the bone", so why send him instead to one of the world’s foremost experts in repairing sports hernias? Not only that, but the Texans not acquiescing to Pierre Thomas’ demands out of desperation could suggest that they believe that they might be getting Foster back sooner rather than later. Every piece of evidence here is obviously circumstantial at best, but it certainly does cast a ray of sunshine over an otherwise dark, depressing, season-shattering story.