The O. Zone

Who will Brett Favre throw to after Rice has hip surgery in Vail?

By David O. Williams
Real AspenAugust 24, 2010
So the Minnesota Vikings got Brett Favre back for one more season, but now he has no one to throw to. The Minneapolis Star Tribune today quoted a text message from Favre’s favorite receiver last season, Sidney Rice, confirming that the wideout had hip surgery Monday at Vail’s Steadman Clinic.

Rice will likely miss a significant chunk of the coming NFL season, and Favre’s other go-to guy, Percy Harvin, has been dealing with migraine headaches ala Denver Broncos legendary running back Terrell Davis, who overcame the blinding pain to lead his team to consecutive Super Bowl titles in the late 1990s.

David O. Williams

Can Harvin do the same and help Favre get back to the Super Bowl in what is likely the sure Hall of Fame gunslinger’s swansong after the Vikings’ crushing defeat to the New Orleans Saints last season? That’s a big question mark.

Another big question is why Rice didn’t get his hip worked on at the famed Steadman Clinic earlier in the offseason, speeding up his possible return. Rice was reportedly in Vail in June and tried to rehab the hip before returning this month with the injury in much worse condition.

Steadman hip specialist Marc Philippon promotes hip arthroscopy and vigorous rehab over surgery and reconstruction if possible. I’m not saying that’s what happened in Rice’s case, but it’s a philosophy that generally tries to avoid invasive surgery if possible – and it is all-pervasive at the clinic founded by Dr. Richard Steadman.

Steadman pioneered quick and intense rehab after surgery, and unlike some docs, he declines to operate if it’s not absolutely necessary. He cleaned out my knee after a skiing accident in 2007 but told me I could avoid full reconstruction because I had been living without an ACL in my left knee for 14 years (a fact they only discovered after my new injury).

I was back skiing the following season. Of course, I’m not paid millions of dollars to catch passes from Brett Favre either. But I suspect that nothing is done without the approval of the NFL squad so heavily invested in the player. The Vikings, too, were probably hoping Rice could come back without surgery.

For those fans of the "other" form of football, Rice may have run into Inter Milan midfielder Thiago Motta on Monday in the halls of the Vail Valley Medical Center, according to USA Today. Motta reportedly had an arthroscopic "cleaning of his right knee" performed by Steadman, who also operated on Motta when the Brazilian played for Barcelona.


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