Miami Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum caused a slight cosmic shift in the Dolphins universe this week when, during an interview between practices at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, he insinuated that quarterback Ryan Tannehill may need surgery on his injured left knee.
"Just to give you guys an update on Ryan, we're still working through the process,” said Tannenbaum. “Nothing's been definitively decided yet. As always … player health and safety is paramount. We'll do what's best for the player. We have no material updates as of today, but it's something (that Head Coach) Adam (Gase), (General Manager) Chris (Grier), (Chairman of the Board/Managing General Partner) Steve Ross and myself, we'll keep talking through. When we have more information, we'll share it; but nothing materially new as of now."
Cryptic as that may sound, reporters immediately honed in on the fact that if a second MRI on Tannehill’s knee indicates less healing than expected, the process could be accelerated with surgery to repair tears to Tannehill’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or medial cruciate ligament (MCL), both of which suffered sprains, or small tears when Tannehill was hit low during Miami’s Week 14 win over the Arizona Cardinals by defensive lineman Calias Campbell.
When Tannenbaum was pressed for details, he instead deflected to say that he has full confidence in the Dolphins medical staff, and that subsequent tests would determine the next step.
"I think like on any significant medical decision, we want to do it collaboratively. Certainly we have a very good and experienced medical staff. One of the things that I like about our medical staff is they're exhaustive in their research.”
In reading between the lines, it is this writer’s opinion that during the initial MRI and examination, doctors determined that those small tears in the ligaments were inconsequential enough that they should heal by themselves in a 6-8 week period of time. If after that time (Tannehill’s injury occurred roughly seven weeks ago), a re-examination determines that the tears are not healing significantly or sufficiently, then a subsequent plan for treatment will be prescribed, which could simply mean more rest, arthroscopic surgery, or surgery to fully repair the damage.
So should Dolphins fans worry?
Probably not. At least not until that second MRI and examination is done. It is quite likely that Tannehill, who is renowned as a very fast healer, may pass the second examination with flying colors. As Tannenbaum clearly noted, the medical staff has been very thorough to date, so he (and fans) need to rely on their expertise in coming to the best prognosis to return Tannehill’s knee to full health.
“Obviously a player ultimately decides what they want to do,” concluded Tannenbaum. “But we're in constant communication in talking to Ryan, and he's talking to our trainers and doctors all the time. His agent is involved, and it's been something where we all want to make sure that we're doing this correctly and taking our time.”
The Dolphins certainly aren’t going to take any unnecessary risks with the franchise quarterback, and it sounds like all Tannenbaum is saying is that the team will do everything they can to ensure Tannehill is 100% when all is said and done.
“Our player's well-being is always a paramount concern for us."
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball
Latest Dolphins News