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In the comments on post about Willie Colon's torn bicep, "frustjetfn" asked whether the four months recovery window that has been mentioned for Colon is a sufficient estimation.

While no one seems to have many more details on Colon's injury, here's what we have learned about bicep tears:

  1. There's two types of bicep tears. A proximal tear would be on the shoulder-end of the biceps muscle and that's the preferable type to have. A distal tear would be at the elbow-end and often retracts toward the shoulder requiring immediate surgery to properly fix.
  2. For most people surgery is a last resort, but is popular with elite athletes who rely on complete recovery.
  3. Once the healing process in underway, physical therapy helps to gradually strengthen the impacted area and improve range of movement around the muscle. Physical therapy can also condition the muscles to make them more resistant to injury.
While an injury of this kind is never good, it might not be as bad for an offensive lineman to have a biceps tear than other tears in the shoulder area, according to B/R's Lead Writer for Sports Medicine, Will Carroll.

"In general, you worry more about triceps tears and pectoral tears," Carroll said, because for offensive linemen, "pushing is more of a needed skill than pulling."

This season, Niners defensive lineman Ray McDonald suffered a proximal tear of his bicep according to the Sacramento Bee while sacking Texans QB Matt Schaub. According to the Bee, McDonald opted to play through the injury. Near the time of the injury, McDonald said he hadn't lost any strength, which the reporter checked out.

Dr. Dan Solomon, an orthopedic surgeon with Marin Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Novato, said [loss of strength is] a possibility as the season wears on. Solomon also said it's easier to repair the injury immediately than it is several months later. He said the muscle tends to atrophy a bit and the tendon can roll up on itself.
With the season over for the Jets, there is no reason for Colon to wait to have the surgery. As opposed to McDonald, who suffered his tear in Week 5 on a team that was fighting to get back to the Super Bowl.

This leads us to two conclusions.

First, we suspect that Colon's injury was a distal tear even with no reason to wait for surgery due to the Jets' schedule. Four months to recover is a long time, but since the season won't begin for eight the immediacy of the surgery raises that concern.

Second, that Willie Colon is undergoing the knife indicates that he has no plans to retire -- not that he ever said he did. He could choose to not get surgery, but that would be a sure sign that he was walking away. You might recall that Brett Favre hemmed and hawed about biceps surgery long after that Week 11 injury in 2008 with the Jets all the way to joining the Vikings in August of 2009.

This surgery is evidence that Colon plans to come back and play another year in the NFL. Colon signed a one-year deal with the Jets in 2013, but he has stated that he would like to play again for Rex Ryan in 2014. Undergoing surgery to ensure the best recovery possible is the first step to that goal.

UPDATE: Bent went back at the film and came to the same conclusion on the fact that Colon's is a distal tear.  I will let him explain.


I went back to the film to look at the theory about whether Colon's biceps tear  being a distal tear is right or not.  Bassett is probably correct.

His arm was bent back behind him on the first play of the drive and he appeared to grab the elbow joint in pain.  Two plays later, he again went for the same elbow joint after the play and asked out of the game.

Tags: NYJets , Brian Bassett
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