JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – About the first dozen people I told that Jalen Ramsey had a tear in his meniscus had the same reaction: “Come on! Really? Are the Jaguars snake bit?”
It’s easy to draw that conclusion after last year’s injury to Dante Fowler and the just plain old bad luck the Jaguars have had in the last 12-15 years. And while I don’t think they’re snake bit, I do think revisiting what they’re asking these players to do early on in training is a smart idea.
Last year Fowler was injured on the first day of rookie mini-camp going one-on-one with another rookie offensive tackle. Since the end of the college football season Fowler had been training for the combine, his pro days, team visits and individual workouts. That ends about two or three weeks before the draft, giving the players a chance to exhale. It also means the first extended time off the field since the previous August. Brining the rookies in the week after the draft means most of them have had a month of rest and not intense workouts. Put them on the field against each other in their first foray into the professional world and you can’t expect them to go at it at anything but 100%. Having had a month off, they’re not ready for that but don’t try and tell a 21-year old that. So injuries happen.
And they don’t just happen to the Jaguars. But I do think working these guys back in a bit slower when it comes to the physical aspect of workouts is advisable. Even just a month off has these players at just below their optimum fitness level and they can pay a price. It might be a fluke that Ramsey got hurt but more likely it’s his body is fine tuned to the point where if one thing is a little out of whack, it’s possible an injury will happen. And don’t forget, he had surgery on the same knee in high school.
Here’s the Jaguars official statement: “Jalen Ramsey sustained a small tear to the meniscus in his right knee during phase two on-field workouts. Ramsey is obtaining a second opinion next week. More information will be available when Head Team Physician Dr. Kevin Kaplan and the Jaguars athletic training staff determine the appropriate medical care.”
I talked with knee specialist and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Paul Shirley today who said, “At his age, if it’s a small tear in his meniscus he’ll be back to 100% in 3-6 weeks and will be able to play without any difficulty for the next 10-12 years.”
Shirley has worked with professional sports teams for more than 40 years and wasn’t surprised by the injury. “He’ll be back ok,” he told me.
So next week we’ll have more information but don’t expect Ramsey to see any action until he’s 100%.