Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Anatomy 101

The biceps muscle of the arm (the hamstring is also a biceps) is called this because it has two muscle bellies. At the shoulder there are two places that the biceps inserts into the scapula. The two bellies merge and form one attachment below the elbow. This makes the biceps a "two-joint" muscle. As we all know, it flexes the forearm, but it also helps in flexing the arm at the shoulder (raising the arm in front of you). The tendon that Farve had released was likely the long tendon that attaches at the front of the shoulder. He will still be able to raise his arm becuase he still has his deltoid and the 4 rotator cuff muscles to help with this. His other tendon at the shoulder is also probably intact, and the insertion below the elbow (the one primarily responsible for showing your guns) is definitely intact, otherwise Mr. Favre would not be throwing a ball any time soon.

Basically, his throwing motion should not be greatly impacted, nor should the power behind his throws, which comes primarily from his legs and core. Releasing that tendon will serve to relieve the pain he felt in his shoulder that limited the amount of torque he could apply with each throw. The risk to him is that his shoulder will be less stable without that attachment and could and likely will eventually lead to rotator cuff problems.

As for hoping that Stan Van Gundy would out coach Phil Jackson...one listen to his pep-talks during time-outs should clue you in to his coaching deficiencies.

I agree with the Kobe-face moratorium. However, I like to think of it as the "Angry Wallace Face", (referencing Wallace and Gromit).

Monday, June 08, 2009

I Need a Consult

I am definitely not a doctor. And one reason I know this, besides my failure to take any science classes in college or spend four years of my life in medical school (though if I had to go, I'd choose this one: Dominica is phenomenal), is that I am befuddled by the descriptions of Favre's recent shoulder surgery. That is, the procedure doesn't make sense to me, and I don't see how it's going to allow Favre to be a decent quarterback.

Getting into specifics now, apparently the reason Favre was gargling raw sewage for the last third of the '08 season was that he partially tore the bicep tendon in his throwing arm. That is, he partially tore the portion of his biceps muscle that connected it (I believe) to his shoulder bone. As you would think, this injury hurt and made Favre less effective as a quarterback. That much seems straightforward. So one would think that the solution to this injury would either be physical therapy, to help the tendon heal up on its own, or surgery where doctors would stitch up the tendon and reattach it to the shoulder. However, early reports said that Favre wasn't interested in that type of surgery, as it would be quite invasive and the rehab would be too arduous and lengthy. All this makes sense to me.

But then this weird second option emerged--- instead of having the partially torn tendon fixed, Favre could just have it completely severed. And this, it seems, would alleviate the pain he'd have in his shoulder and allow him to throw the ball at "100%" again while also allowing for a far simpler surgery and quicker recovery. So Favre consulted with the doctor in Alabama everyone talks with (Why is the nation's most preeminent sports orthopedic surgeon living in Alabama by the way? Low malpractice insurance rates?) and now news reports have surfaced that he apparently had the surgery done last month. (I guess Favre's entourage got nervous after more than 8 days passed without some useless, anonymous bit of Favre news leaking out.)

But I still don't understand how this is going to work. I mean, Favre now has a completely unattached biceps in his throwing arm. First off, how does he bend his arm up? Are there other, smaller muscles that get used? And second, in the football world, you'd think that not having a funcational biceps in his throwing arm would, at the least, make that arm a lot weaker than it was before. When one winds up to throw, you use your biceps, so I don't see how it wouldn't affect his throwing motion or accuracy. Plus, you especially rely on that muscle to secure the ball when you get tackled. So you'd think he might have increased problems with ball security. But this is all speculation. Really, I don't understand how this surgery "fixes" the problem or how it might impact Favre's abilities.

Can Papa Sal, the site's resident physician, provide some explanation?

p.s. I guess it was too much to hope that Stan Van Gundy would be able to top Phil Jackson in the NBA finals, eh? Also, Kobe's PR guys need to tell him to stop making that weasel/unrepetant rapist face.