At Wednesday’s Vikings practice, teammates of football deity Brett Favre — already feeling humbled to be in the great man’s presence — couldn’t help but elbow each other and say, “Holy %$%*, he throws footballs HARD!”
“The dude’s throwing missiles out there,” Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said.
“It’s hot, it’s hot,” wide receiver Bobby Wade added. [Editor's note: We're assuming he was not juggling a freshly-microwaved potato at the time.]
The feedback naturally sparks curiosity as to the life expectancy of a right arm with a partially torn rotator cuff, when said right arm is attached to a 39-going-on-40-year-old body.
“It all depends how partial the partial tear is,” a doctor with experience treating high-level athletes in both football and baseball told PFT. “If the tear encompasses an area of five to seven millimeters and is well-conditioned in the area around it, it may hold up for a while. On the other hand, if it’s a two-centimeter tear and there’s retraction around it, it’s much less likely to do well.”
Favre said Tuesday that the tear was discovered by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews as he repaired Favre’s biceps tendon. Favre noted that, according to Andrews, the partial tear may have been present longer than the biceps tear.
Favre didn’t say how big the tear is.
Still, torn rotator cuffs don’t heal without surgery. And they’ll worsen over time because of trauma or overuse.
“Cleared to play does not mean ‘cleared to play well’,” said the medical source. “He’s at high risk [for greater tearing] both because of trauma and his style of play in which he will go downfield or throw with a lot of velocity. He’s going to stress his cuff.”
Is age a factor?
“Absolutely,” the source said. “A player under 25 very rarely thinks of rotator cuff tears. Over 40, it’s the No. 1 cause of shoulder pain. That’s a big fact against him.”
In other words, “Sage, Tarvaris? Stay loose.”