When it comes to doctors who have never examined or treated a patient, we typically steer clear of their opinions regarding said patient.
But the opinions of Dr. Wellington Hsu regarding Packers tight end Jermichael Finley are sufficiently noteworthy to justify a mention. Especially since those opinions have been harvested and publicized by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Dr. Hsu believes that the chances of Finley returning to the field without surgery are slim.
“If everything is normal there should be enough space in the spinal canal to absorb the force of that hit,” Dr. Hsu said. “If there isn’t enough space, then the spinal canal doesn’t take the jolt very well.”
Dr. Hsu saw the hit that reportedly has caused spinal cord bruising. He explained that the situation can arise from four different conditions: a herniated disk; a fractured joint; spinal stenosis or a genetic/arthritic narrowing of the spine; and/or a loose vertebrae due to ligament damage around the spine.
Regardless of the specific reason for Finley’s spinal cord bruising, it possibly doesn’t bode well for his future in football — absent surgical intervention.
“Something needs to change or you would be at risk for something bad happening,” Dr. Hsu said.
At a time when Finley has been lobbied by family members to stop playing football after suffering a concussion last month, issues with his spinal cord could give those close to Finley all the ammunition they need to persuade the 26-year-old to walk away.