After surgery, what's next for Watkins? Dr. Anderson explains

Golic and Wingo
January 25, 2017 - 4:07 pm

By Sal Capaccio

Twitter @SalSports

Last week, the Bills confirmed, through a press release, that wide receiver Sammy Watkins underwent a second foot surgery to repair a fracture which occurred last offseason.  Noted foot specialist and Carolina Panthers team physician Dr. Robert Anderson performed the surgery, just as he did the first time last year.

It’s been reported Watkins’ specific injury was a Jones Fracture, although that has never been confirmed by the wideout or the team.  But now that we know he had the second surgery, what’s next?  Will the Bills top wide receiver be ready for offseason workouts or even training camp?  How will this impact his long-term playing future?

Dr. Anderson recently joined ESPN’s Stephania Bell on the Fantasy Focus podcast and specifically discussed Jones Fractures and, presumably, the exact procedure Watkins had, although he did not mention the wideout by name.  Here is a transcript of that two-minute portion of the 41-minute long podcast:

BELL: Why is it that we see some of these guys come back and then need a follow-up procedure? And oftentimes what gets reported is when they go back and change a screw or something more substantial. So, can you explain that a little bit? 

ANDERSON: Exactly. So, at least my practice of taking care of the Jones Fracture in-season has been to offer the player the opportunity to have a screw put in through a minimally invasive approach, through a small incision, not violating or exposing the bone at all, but rather under fluoroscopic or radiographic guidance we float a screw so-to-say inside the bone and provide that immediate internal support and protection.

With that minimal surgery the usual protocol is to have them on crutches for one or two weeks in a boot for one or two weeks and allow them to return to running activity as soon as they feel good. Now even with that fairly accelerator program our studies have shown that 90-percent of guys will heal and stay stay healed. However, there are 10-percent of the guys that with that accelerator program may not be fully healed in the bone. And then after the season what we then do is go back and do a more formal bone grafting procedure to the fracture itself and then exchanging the screw, which also can be very, very successful.

So fortunately, if the players do elect to go back with this accelerator program they're not putting themselves in a long-term harm or risk by doing so.

BELL: And after the second procedure, if that in fact becomes necessary, that results from that tend to be permanent?

ANDERSON: Tend to be very very good. There's still always a chance that that bone may have difficulty healing within that first one or two year window. Once a player gets past a year and a half, two years from a Jones Fracture that's been operated on they're usually pretty safe. We don't see any re-fractures after that period of time.

You can download or listen to the full podcast with Bell and Anderson here.

Follow me on Twitter @SalSports

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