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Welker's biggest hurdle? Still the knee

Posted by Albert Breer  March 13, 2010 12:08 PM

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The natural questions to ask after last night's news that Wes Welker recently underwent rotator-cuff surgery concern the timetable for his recovery.

Since rehab on those types of injuries varies wildly, I've had some difficulty nailing that down.

But what I have been told is that the idea that this injury would sideline Welker for the entire 2010 season is completely false. In fact, battling back from reconstructive knee surgery remains the 28-year-old's primary challenge.

Now, there's good news and bad news here.

Bad news first. This isn't insignificant. Rotator-cuff surgery, like the one Steeler defensive end Aaron Smith had in October, is enough to end a player's season. Smith's recovery period looks to be about a six-month deal. That explains why now -- when Welker isn't going to be able to participate in football activities, anyway -- is the ideal time to do it.

The good news is that there don't seem to be lingering effects from the injury. Pittsburgh wideout Hines Ward underwent rotator-cuff surgery after Super Bowl XLIII, and was back in time for the start of training camp, six months later. He was paced a little bit there, but swore it wasn't injury-related. Ward then caught 43 balls in the first six weeks of 2009, on his way to a 95-catch season, which seems to be proof positive that once you're back, you're back.

Since the surgery's already done, that six-month clock is already ticking. And while it adds work to the rehab he's doing on the knee (like I said, it's not insignificant), this isn't likely to add any shelf-time for Welker as he battles back from both issues.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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