The foot injury that is expected to keep Saints center Max Unger off the field for the start of the regular season was not a new one. But it does create a layer of questions that will sound familiar in the NFC South.
According to Herbie Teope of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Unger had surgery over the weekend to repair a foot injury which he was dealing with the end of last season.
Unger missed a Week 14 game last season with what a source described as the same foot injury. He returned to play the rest of the regular season, but was limited in practices down the stretch.
The natural question is whether something happened to aggravate the problem, or whether Unger just chose the Cam Newton route, and hoped the problem would correct itself without surgery before eventually realizing it wouldn’t. The Panthers quarterback tried rehabbing and strengthening after suffering a partially torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder, and decided to have surgery in March. He’s expected to be back in time for training camp, and coach Ron Rivera has defended the decision to play Newton in meaningless games after the injury.
The expectation is not as optimistic for Unger, who could start the year on the physically unable to perform list.
That could force the Saints to either move versatile Senio Kelemete in from guard, or look for an answer outside the organization.
While it might inconvenience the teams, it’s natural for players who make a living with their body to make sure letting a doctor open it up is absolutely necessary, and putting it off until they’re sure it’s the only way to fix the problem.