What’s Going on with Ahmad?
Two weeks ago, Ahmad Bradshaw was the workhorse behind a monster win over the San Francisco 49ers, making 3 catches for 16 yards, and rushing 19 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. Now, he’s two weeks in to an inactive period, with reports that he will be out at least another two weeks with a neck injury. He may even elect to have season-ending surgery. What is going on? How is it now that his injury is either a wait-to-heal or could require surgery? And most mysteriously, if he was injured on only his 5th carry, how did he continue on to make 17 more plays?
While Colts Authority doesn’t have any insider information, the one possibility that sticks out (no pun intended) is a bulging disc in his neck. Remember that the discs are like jelly donuts that cushion the vertebrae in the spine. If the vertebrae are compressed, the jelly in the donut could bulge toward the outer edge (bulging) or spill out altogether (herniated). A bulging or herniated disc puts pressure on the nerves in the spinal column, causing pain, weakness or both. If you have been a Colts fan for longer than a year, the phrase “herniated disc” brings more than sympathetic pain, it brings heartache as well. It also may bring the memory of several failed attempts to alleviate the symptoms before finally replacing the jelly donut with a… hard, stale donut? But I digress…
The report that Bradshaw is planning to wait a couple of weeks for his injury to “calm down” implies that it may not be as severe as a herniation or full rupture. My assumption (and please remember I am not a doctor) is that the pain or weakness associated with a herniated disc would be more likely to be reaggravated through almost any type of football contact, and would either need to be shaved back (surgery) or removed (surgery). A bulging disc could be “coaxed” to calm down through rest and physical therapy (and probably a shot of cortisone). The fact that Bradshaw has visited a specialist in Arizona, and Dr. Robert Watkins in LA (the one who finally repaired Peyton Manning), is cause for concern. The fact that he didn’t seem to undergo any surgical procedure as a result of those visits gives us a glimmer of hope.
As Greg mentioned in one of his tweets earlier this week, Bradshaw definitely looked like he was in bad shape after he took the hit that we assume caused the injury. So how was it that Bradshaw was able to stay in the game and power through? It had to be pure will.
I mean he didn't just finish the 49ers game... he was a complete beast. Amazing.
I really appreciate this post as it attempted to address everything I have been thinking and asking myself. Thanks Laura.
Have missed you, Laura ! I share your faint optimism that we may still reap the benefits of Bradshaw's power running style by the time we play a game next February in New Jersey !
I hope this article signifies your return to regular appearances on this site.
Just before Bradshaw temporarily left the game against the 49ers he was wobbling like a TKOd boxer before his legs simply collapsed. Am I the only one who saw that? If I recorded a gif of it how can I post it here?
Or there is the possibility that he is dinged just a bit and doesn't want to come back. "I was running the ball hard for you and getting results. You but me behind Ballard, no problem, I'll show what I've got and you'll have to get me the ball. Now Ballard goes down and instead of featuring me, you bring in Richardson. Obviously you are telling me you won't keep me next year. I am gonna put on a show, then I am shutting it down. I'm not going to give up my body for a team that is going to show me the door no matter what I do." Just saying.
I hope the Colts place him on the IR with designation for return if the verdict is that he doesn't need surgery, for now.
My guess is that he will need surgery eventually, but hopefully he can drag this out until the end of the Colts season with minimal risk.
With TRich and DB, we have the luxury of waiting for Bradshaw to be completely healthy if he wants to come back. I'd love for him to be back at the end of the season, get in game shape and be fresh for the playoffs.
A stale donut is still delicious, right? Couldn't they use some of today's high-tech super-foods, like Teflon waffles, or fluffy sourdough pancakes?
Well, we knew he was not a 300-carry guy, but it would be nice to have him rest, recoop, and get in the second half of the season.
@GregCowanCA will crawl back in if I see my shadow
I don't necessarily think that is the case, but it is a possibility. The careers of running backs are short enough as it is. Bradshaw has a injury history and he has to be thinking about his next contract to some degree. He probably felt like Indy was a place he could prove himself durable enough to get a contract for a few more years, then they traded for Richardson, meaning that contract would have to happen with another franchise. I hope that is not the case. I think he was the best back the Colts had (even with Richardson).