Before we get to the tight ends, let's take an injury-slanted look at the upcoming NFL Combine. I had the chance to talk with a doctor who's been through the process during his tenure. Neil ElAttrache is one of the top orthopaedists, a former NFL team doctor, and Director of Sports Medicine at the world-renowned Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles. He gave me a look behind the curtain of what happens when the series of possible draftees come to Indianapolis this weekend to be poked, prodded, measured, tested, x-rayed, videoed and who knows what else.
"It's really for their own good," Dr. ElAttrache said. Trying to sneak an injury past the doctors is not going to work. "We have their medical records. We're definitely looking at past surgeries, things that kept them out of games. Position matters too. We're going to look at the shoulder of quarterbacks, the back of lineman, the neck of the collision players, and the knees of everyone."
They certainly have the tools available. X-rays and MRIs are available either on site or drivers take them less than a mile to a nearby hospital for tests. The cooperative nature of the Combine helps. "We're a small group. We meet, we talk, and information is always going to share." This also holds true for past injuries. "If a guy is coming back from ACL surgery and I know the doctor, I'm less likely to be concerned. It's a lot easier for me to recommend a player if I know the doctor does good work and the guy will heal well."