Advice

Injury Update: Le’Veon Bell’s Sports Hernia Surgery

Le’veon Bell suffered a sports hernia injury during the 2016 playoffs. He tried to treat his injury non-operatively, but finally realized that he needed to have it repaired; surgery was performed on March 13, 2017. He was given a six week timetable for recovery.

I think that could be a little optimistic for full recovery for someone playing the highly demanding NFL running back position but since there’s a lot of time before the start of the 2017 season, that’s not a big issue.

Following his sports hernia repair, there’s a good chance it’ll take two months or more for Bell to return to full football activities. But core muscle injuries are tough, and he probably won’t be 100 percent immediately upon his return. He might not initially have his top speed or rapid change of direction and cutting ability. But that really doesn’t matter, because he’s not playing any games in six weeks. My guess is that he’ll return at about 80 percent of normal when he initially restarts football activities. It will probably be 3-4 months before he’s fully back to 100 percent. That’s mid-July.

For reference, Zach Ertz underwent a similar sports hernia surgery in August, 2015. And while Ertz played Week 1 of that season, he didn’t perform really well until Week 14 (5 catches for 98 yards). Was that slow start due to his surgery? It’s always tough be definitive about why a player isn’t as productive initially, but it may not be purely coincidence that Ertz ‘got right’ about four months after his surgery.

In summary: Bell should be fine before the end of training camp. I can’t imagine that the Steelers would rush one of their best players back too quickly during the off-season and risk a set-back. While the team may take it easy on Bell during training camp, he should be full go in time for the 2017 preseason and regular season.

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By Jeffrey E. Budoff, MD | @JeffBudoff | Archive

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