Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains’ interactions with receiver Kevin White have been brief this week, but heartfelt.
The news that White’s severe high-ankle sprain resulted in a spiral fracture in his left fibula and an injured-reserve designation saddened everyoneat Halas Hall.
“I love him and I hate that this happened, and [I told him] that I appreciate everything he’s done to this point,” Loggains said Thursday. “I know when he comes back he will be ready to go.”
But when will that be?
Officially, White can’t practice for six weeks because he’s onIR. But there are doubts that he’ll be ready by then. Coach John Fox said Wednesday that the team will seek opinions on White this week. Surgery remains an option.
According to Dr. Neil Ghodadra, a sports orthopedic surgeon based in California who has worked for the Bulls and White Sox, surgery depends on the severity of the spiral fracture. He said typically surgery involves inserting a plate and screws.
“It comes down to how much is displaced, meaning how big the break is and how much has it moved,” Ghodadra said during an interview with WGN Radio’s “Intentional Grounding” podcast. “If it’s closely aligned, let it heal. It’s not a problem. You can put a cast on, let it heal and then do physical therapy to get the motion back. The whole process takes a couple months.
“Sometimes in our athletes we tend to operate quickly and put plates and screws in because at least you know that the bone is back to anatomic alignment. Sometimes it can speed you up in the process. But overall for this type of injury, you’re still looking at six to eight weeks no matter which direction you go, conservative or surgical.”
Ghodadra said strengthening White’s left leg and ankle is the most important aspect of his recovery. The process shouldn’t be as arduous as White’s recovery following surgery for a stress fracture in his left tibia last year. But having two significant injuries in the same leg is a concern.
“The last thing you want to do is put him back out there when the bone’s healed and yet he still has weakness in that ankle,” Ghodadra said. “Because you’re setting him up to have that happen again.”
Whether it’s random soreness or swelling after games, Ghodadra suggested that White might experience some residual effects of his injuries for one to two years.
But Ghodadra said it’s not impossible for White to return this season.
“The question is going to be: Can he come back to his form or is he still going to take time to get back to where he needs to go?” Ghodadra said. “The first week or two will be telling [after he returns]. You’ll see how well he’s moving.
“The question would be, if he’s ready by Week 16, does it make sense to put him in for a game if they’re not going to the playoffs. It just depends where they are at that time.”