Melvin Gordon’s rookie season did not go as planned. The highly touted running back out of Wisconsin was drafted 15th overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2015 in what some pundits considered a steal. Although Gordon’s production in the backfield wasn’t abysmal, it was also not what many San Diego Chargers’ fans hoped to see from the 2014 Doak Walker Award winner.
In a game against the Miami Dolphins on December 20, 2015, Melvin suffered a knee injury and was subsequently placed on injured reserve. The following month, Gordon underwent knee surgery to correct the injury. It was originally reported that he had torn cartilage, requiring the surgery.
Recently, reports have emerged which shed new light on Gordon’s injury. Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune recently wrote that Gordon underwent microfracture surgery. That type of surgery brings with it a stigma for a tough road to recovery and return to original form. That is not always the case, however.
Microfracture surgery, as Gehlken reports, works by creating small holes in bone near to the injury, which in turn stimulates blood flow to the injured area. The timetable associated with Gordon’s injury, considering the microfracture surgery, is four to six months.
Some professional athletes who have undergone the surgery have not bounced back to pre-surgery form. An example is one-time top NBA draft pick Greg Oden. There are also cases of athletes, in particular NFL athletes, who have recovered well from the injury and surgery. Reggie Bush reportedly had the surgery in 2008. The former USC running back went on to have two seasons with more than 1,000 rushing yards.
Although there is often a high amount concern around athletes recovering from microfracture surgery, it is not always warranted. Dr. Brian Schulz, an orthopedic surgeon at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, explained in more detail why this might be the case, as reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“Normally, it’s more directly related to the size of the defect, what’s going on in the rest of the knee. If it’s a relatively small lesion that’s localized to a specific point, the microfracture has worked pretty well, even in professional athletes…. I don’t think microfracture is quite the kiss of death that everyone makes it out to be.”
Melvin Gordon is certainly confident in the face of the surgery he underwent earlier this year. As Michael Gehlken recently tweeted, Gordon is not concerned in the least about being ready for training camp.
“No question, I’ll be ready for training camp. I’m not even worried about that.”
Recently back on the field, Gordon is steadily working his way back from the injury. Full recovery was pegged at four to six months from the surgery in January, and Gordon appears to be on track. Judson Richards, the host of the Chargers Power Hour on Xtra 1360, recently posted a video on Twitter of Melvin working out on Monday, May 9.
Melvin Gordon earlier today who’s coming off microfracture surgery pic.twitter.com/HunupjhQj2
— Judson Richards (@Judson1360) May 10, 2016
It is a very positive sign for Chargers’ fans to see Gordon taking reps, albeit without pads or contact. There is much ground to gain in order to get Melvin not only back to pre-injury form, but to the place where the Chargers were hopeful he could be when they drafted him out of Wisconsin.
In his rookie season with San Diego, Melvin Gordon carried the ball 184 times for 641 yards. That is 3.5 yards per attempt. That average was 46th out of 47 qualified rushers, according to ESPN.
While Gordon does need to get improved blocking from the Chargers’ offensive line, he now has another hurdle to jump in the form of recovery from his microfracture surgery. It is not an insurmountable obstacle, however, as the case of Reggie Bush has proven.
[Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images]