Trent Richardson and Dr. Andrews (continued)

As I hit the publish button on the last post, Chris Mortenson of ESPN tweeted the following:

Trent Richardson’s visit to Dr. Andrews includes tentatively scheduled arthroscopic surgery to clean up loose particle of cartilage.

Richardson’s surgery would be considered as proactive minor procedure; a “hang nail particle” not related to meniscus repair on same knee.

Richardson is expected to be ready for season opener, if not sooner.

Here’s how those tweets break down:

Richardson will have arthroscopic surgery tomorrow to remove a small piece of meniscus from his knee. The suggestion is that the fragment is very small and not in the same region of lateral meniscus tissue that was repaired in February. That would dovetail nicely with the report earlier today that the MRI findings were “not a big deal.” The minor procedure will likely only require 2-3 weeks of rehab time and Richardson should be back before the end of the preseason.

In other news, the Cleveland fan base let out a collective sigh of relief that has those living on the edge of Lake Erie under a tsunami watch.

I don’t think there’s anything particularly fishy in Mortenson’s report. It’s great news for Richardson, who has already recovered well from a similar procedure earlier this year, since it seems likely that he won’t be losing a significant amount of cartilage and apparently isn’t continuing to have difficulty in the area of his previous tear.

Still, any removal of meniscal tissue should be seen for what it is — the loss of tissue that cushions the knee joint from impact. I’m not about to speculate that Richardson will have a shorter, less successful career than hoped after these two procedures. On the contrary, I commonly cite Maurice Jones-Drew and Marques Colston as players who have overcome serious meniscal damage to play at a very high level. But you should also not dismiss the possibility that we’ll be discussing his knees frequently in coming seasons.

Barring a surprise finding during tomorrow’s scope or a setback in the rehab process, expect Richardson to be ready to go on opening weekend.

—-

Addendum: Chris Mortenson replied to one of my tweets last night to note that Richardson’s injury is not to his meniscal tissue. That leaves damage to the articular cartilage as the most likely scenario. If that’s the case, though the location and type of tissue is different, the rehabilitation expectation and outcomes are similar.

The hope is that the fragment of articular cartilage removed isn’t large, as loss of too much of this type of cartilage is a precursor for bone-on-bone conditions. Though it’s a fine line to walk, inflammation around a small particle of damage cartilage could further damage surrounding tissue and could explain the “proactive” comment offered in Mortenson’s earlier tweets.

You can read more about the differences between meniscal tissue and articular cartilages in this post.

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