September 9, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Roy Miller (90) and defensive end Michael Bennett (71) tackle Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) in the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Carolina Panthers 16-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
All of a sudden, everyone is worried about Michael Bennett’s shoulder. The concern comes from a tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
"Seahaws DE Michael Bennett, who left Tampa for Seattle, was diagnosed with torn rotator cuff. Injury why Bennett got a 1-yr deal in SEA. – Adam Schefter via Twitter"
Torn rotator cuff. Sounds bad.
It is bad, if you’re a pitcher on a baseball team. For everyone else, it depends on how bad the injury is. Not all torn rotator cuffs are created equal. It actually has to be pretty bad before it becomes long term problem. Most aren’t really a big deal at all.
There’s a lot of evidence here that suggests that Bennett’s injury was significantly closer to “minor” than it was to being “severe.” There are 4 main reasons why I don’t believe that Seahawks fans should be the least bit concerned about Bennett’s shoulder.
1) Bennett didn’t have surgery to repair his rotator cuff, or even to clean up the frayed edges. This means that the actual damage in his shoulder wasn’t severe.
2) Bennett played through the injury last season. He was listed on the injury report for 5 of the final 8 games with a shoulder injury, but only saw a slight drop off in his production during those games.
3) The Seahawks had Bennett undergo a physical before he signed, and he passed it. The Seahawks clearly don’t believe that this injury is going to be a problem.
4) 6 and half months between when the Buccaneers season ended and the start of training camp is a long time. The combination of physical therapy and rest can go a long way in that much time for this particular injury.
Like I said, I don’t think there’s much reason for alarm here.
Warning, personal story approaching. Feel free to skip to the end. I actually have some personal experience with this injury. A couple years ago, I was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff. I wish it came with a cool story on how it happened, but it doesn’t. I was hanging drywall in a room I was renovating in my house. It hurt, the pain didn’t go away. It sucked.
I ended up going through the entire process: MRI, consult with a surgeon, physical therapy, etc. My surgeon told me that the pain and discomfort with this particular injury come mostly from the inflammation, and not from the structural damage. That was why that, while it hurt to do stuff, I hadn’t lost any strength in my shoulder.
He also told me that I wouldn’t do anymore damage to the shoulder if I kept using it. All I would do is delay when the inflammation went away, and thus when I’d be pain free. So I continued putting up drywall and such until the project was done. A little less than 6 months after the project was done, I was 100% pain free.
I’m not trying to say that my injury was exactly the same as Bennett’s. We don’t know how severe the damage in his shoulder was. All I know is that my surgeon told me that experience was typical for those injuries that don’t require surgery.
Given the lack of concern by the medical staff of both teams, I think we can safely assume that Bennett’s injury wasn’t severe enough to warent any panic among the fans. I honestly believe this is a case of people searching for news on a slow news day.