Stated Injury: Rotator Cuff Injury
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees suffered a shoulder injury in the second half of their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The injury appears to have happened as Brees was going through his throwing motion as an opponent’s attempt to swat the ball abruptly stopped the forward motion of his arm (video and more information here).
Preliminary reports have referred to the injury as a “rotator cuff injury” or a “rotator cuff bruise”. The rotator cuff is a collection of 4 muscles that run from the shoulder blade to the upper arm. These muscles are instrumental in most movements of the arm, especially rapid overhead movements (like throwing a football).
The severety of the injury depends on what tissues have been injured (torn or bruised) and how much. A rotator cuff strain (mild tearing of muscles or tendons) can usually be rehabilitated using stretching, strengthening and trigger point dry needling. A full-thickness rotator cuff tear (most commonly occurring at the supraspinatus tendon) usually requires surgery and extensive rehabilitation lasting from 8-12 months prior to return to sport. Furthermore, professional overhead athletes rarely return to previous form after a full-thickness tear that required surgery.
Luckily, Brees was able to finish the game. This suggests that his injury is less-serious than the one he returned from in 2006.
Given the information at hand, the Therapydia Denver PTs believe that Drew Brees will miss one game due to a rotator cuff strain. After a few weeks of treatment including Physical Therapy, he will return to full participation against The Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, October 4th.