Derek Carr’s Injury Recovery Timeframe

Dec 24, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) gestures before the snap against the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 24, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) gestures before the snap against the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

Prior to surgery, Derek Carr’s fibula has already started to heal itself. His recovery timeframe is 6-8 weeks, but could he back sooner?

For many of us, Christmas this year was a strange affair. A time of year set aside for family, friends, love and joy was painted with a different shade on Sunday. Living in Sydney, the game was on here during Christmas day. I can’t remember ever having a Christmas in which I sat around the tree with family where my mind was anxiously somewhere far away, due to what happened to Derek Carr.

Carr’s injury was a massive blow to the Raiders organization, but also to the fans on a deep, personal level. As a community, we’ve sat through a dark decade, enduring agonizing performances on the football field. To see the brightest spark on the Raiders be snuffed out in such cruel fashion was devastating. More so because of how we’ve come to know Derek as more than a football player, but as an outstanding man, role model and leader off the field.

My first thoughts, as I’m sure were yours, were what is the extent of the injury and how long will it take for him to be back?

Originally, Derek was scheduled to have surgery on Christmas day, and coach Jack Del Rio could only offer reporters limited information after the game. Apart from obviously ruling Derek out for Week 17, Del Rio told the media that Carr would be out indefinitely and it would not be a “week by week” update affair on the quarterback.

We now know that Derek’s surgery took place this Tuesday, instead of on Sunday. Speculation originally was that if the surgery was booked for Sunday it was a good sign. It could possibly mean that Derek had a good shot of return if they wanted to do the surgery straight away. Whilst that obviously didn’t eventuate — most likely due to swelling of the area making surgery difficult — I’m glad that Derek was able to spend Christmas day with his family and not in a hospital ward.

The beginning of this week brought some clarity and good news concerning Derek’s injury.

On Monday, Derek’s brother, David, revealed on NFL network that Derek was given a recovery timeline of 6-8 weeks.  Super Bowl LI happens to be exactly six weeks and one day away from the injury.

David added that Derek was in good spirits leading up to the operation. More recently, 23ABC’s Mark Hart posted on his Facebook page a conversation he had with David while Derek was undergoing the operation:

Mark’s conversation with David underscores Derek’s sentiments after the surgery. Sounding enthusiastic (let’s be honest, when is he not?) Derek tweeted that “Surgery couldn’t have gone better! Received great news! Already started the recovery process!” Presumably, Derek was told the same news as Mark relayed earlier, but it’s fantastic to hear that the bone has started to heal itself and appeared strong when the surgeon tested it.

In fact, broken fibula injuries aren’t exactly rare in football, so some interesting case studies exist for comparison. If you hadn’t already heard, Marcus Mariota suffered the exact same injury within 30 minutes of Derek, and our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to him and the Titans organization as well — heck, they beat the Chiefs to help hand the Raiders back the division lead.

On the one hand, Mariota is expected to miss approximately five months, according to Jason Wolf of The Tennessean. On the other hand, Charles Woodson broke his fibula in 2002 around Christmas time as well, and returned to the starting lineup in three weeks. Of course, Woodson was not at 100% when he returned that year, as some of us may remember. However, defensive backs do a lot more running, planting and changing direction than quarterbacks do.

Patrick May of Mercury News recently published a fascinating conversation between himself and Dr. Nick Grosso, a sports medicine surgeon and President of the Centre for Advanced Orthopedics. Grosso explains that the fibula (as we all probably know now) is the thin bone running down the leg, parallel to the shinbone. The severity of the injury is dependent upon whether the break occurs at the top or bottom of the fibula.

Judging from the tape, it looks like Carr’s break is the lower section, in which Grosso says “If it breaks down at the very end…especially if it’s on the inside part of the ankle, that’s when you’d need surgery and that plate-and-screws kind of thing.” Keep in mind that Grosso admits that his discussion is “all conjecture”. If you’ll excuse a brief moment of self reflection, I myself have actually had that exact injury and surgery involving the lower fibula with the “plate-and-screws kind of thing”. While I am not a professional NFL QB, I had a recovery timeline of approximately 12 weeks.

Of course Grosso is not Carr’s surgeon, so don’t treat his discussion as a “straight from the horse’s mouth” type of thing. On another note, this tweet from Dr Robert Klapper is much more encouraging. Yahoo Sports listed Klapper as Carr’s actual surgeon which is yet to be confirmed. Klapper tweeted:

Now If Klapper did operate on Carr, consider this fantastic news. We do know that Carr had surgery in LA and Klapper is based in LA, so hopefully the link isn’t a coincidence.

Lastly, as stressful a time as this is for us, I’m sure we can imagine how difficult it must be for Derek, his wife Heather and the Carr family as a whole. As much as we may want to find out everything we can, I’d encourage us all to do so respectfully. Recent photos of the Carr’s in LA have surfaced online which I won’t include or link to out of respect for their privacy.

Even just a few hours ago Derek tweeted an adorable video of his son Dallas playing at home, albeit one that reflected his frustration of not being able to walk in front of his house because TMZ had to “get the first shot”.

For now, let’s give the Carr’s our love and support, and understand that as much as we may want to see him back on the field soon, it’s far more important for his career as our franchise Quarterback that he heals properly and takes care of himself.

Here’s to a wonderful holiday season Raider nation.

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