The knee injury that ended Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller’s season was severe, but it appears that it wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Keller avoided nerve or cartilage damage when he tore the ACL, MCL and PCL and dislocated the kneecap in his right knee. There was a particular fear about nerve damage because it might have seriously compromised his ability to resume his playing career after this season.
The injury is serious enough without the nerve damage that there can’t be any assumptions about Keller’s ability to return in 2014, but any good news is sure to be well received by the tight end as he starts out on the road to a comeback. How good that news turns out to be for a player whose greatest skills — speed, quickness and athleticism — are almost certainly going to be impacted by the torn ligaments and dislocated kneecap.
Keller was on a one-year deal with Miami, so he’ll likely need to prove that any drop in those areas is limited enough to still make him a productive player before he lands a contract for next season.