June 15, 2015 - Dr. David Chao
Monday Morning MD: Good news on the NFL cancer front
Positive reports emerged on three NFL players stricken with various forms of cancer. Chiefs safety Eric Berry, Seahawks defensive tackle Jesse Williams and Texans offensive lineman David Quessenberry all are on the road to beating potentially deadly diseases. Berry's life may have been saved by the diligence of the team medical staff when a chest x-ray was taken for post game discomfort last season. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and has finished chemotherapy. He is reportedly cured but his football future is not yet determined. Although he did not participate in any physical activity, Berry looked good and ran his football camp last week. Williams had a nephrectomy (kidney) removal just two weeks ago for Papillary Type 2 cancer. He has been cleared to workout and his comeback has begun. He is not participating in practice yet, but watched from the sidelines. Quessenberry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma one year ago. His life may also have been saved as the Texans medical staff uncovered the tumor in a timely fashion after a simple complaint of fatigue and cough. The cancer is now in remission and he is eyeing a return to football. He has regained 20 of the 40 pounds he lost and is at practice but not practicing yet. Although the football futures of these three players are not clear yet, the fact that we can even talk about there playing the game is great news. MMMD 1: Starting quarterback updates Last week I indicated that Carson Palmer may be ahead of Derek Carr and Sam Bradford. Indeed Palmer participated in 11-on-11 and full practice. Derek Carr finger numbness has apparently improved where he also increased his practice reps. Bradford is progressing but still working his way back to full practice. MMMD 2: Offseason injury information often sparse There are no formal injury reporting requirements in the offseason and media access is less. Injury updates are much harder to come by than in the regular season. Brandon LaFell had an unexplained absence from practice and was later spotted in a walking boot. Junior Galette pec injury status remained undetermined but a social media post gave positive signs as he wore a backpack with straps across the injured area. Zach Sudfeld suffered a knee injury, while Joique Bell and Marquise Lee missed practice, all with sparse details. MMMD 3: Difference in Patriots shoulder surgery recovery Dont’a Hightower and Sebastian Vollmer both had offseason shoulder surgery but one is projected with a faster return. The difference is the type of surgery and the extent/location of labral damage. Good clues result from looking at game film. Hightower used a brace/strap on his right shoulder indicating instability and a bigger issue. Vollmer was not seen with such a device. MMMD 4: Giants headed for another record injury year? The Giants have had much bad luck with league high injuries in each of the last two seasons. Can they reverse the trend? Unfortunately, it may be an ominous start after having lost left tackle Will Beatty to a pec tendon rupture and surgery. Now Odell Beckham, who apparently suffered hamstring issues all last season, is being held out for them again. Hopefully this is not a sign of a third straight injury-riddled Giants seasons. MMMD 5: Two stars doing well Robert Mathis is saying his Achilles feels awesome after missing all of last season with a tear. A September rupture gives him an entire year to recovery. While the timing of injury helps, a full recovery is needed for a pass rusher as the Achilles is vital in push-off and explosion off the line of scrimmage Jordy Nelson had offseason hip scope surgery but is already back at practice. Hip scopes often carry a good prognosis as they can improve flexibility and range of motion. MMMD 6: Concussion second-guessing in NBA Finals Other sports are not exempt to the concussion second-guessing that the NFL regularly endures. The handling of LeBron James after he was cut on the scalp by a camera lens was questioned. The earlier treatment of Klay Thompson and Steph Curry were also analyzed by media. It looks like the Monday morning doctors are here to stay when it comes to potential head injuries. Although a step in the right direction, even the new NFL concussion rule allowing the eye in the sky to call a medical timeout will not end the controversy. MMMD 7: Coffee and cramps Matthew Dellavedova of the Cavs was hospitalized after Game 3 of the NBA finals for cramps and given intravenous hydration. This is commonly done pregame, halftime and postgame in NFL locker rooms. When he was released from the hospital, he also cut out coffee from his pregame routine. Caffeine acts as a diuretic and can exasperate dehydration issues. Alcohol can have that effect too. That is the reason many NFL players cut out caffeine and alcohol in season just for that reason. Follow David on Twitter: @profootballdoc Dr. David Chao is a former NFL head team physician with 17 years of sideline, locker and training room experience. He currently has a successful orthopedic/sports medicine practice in San Diego.