9/21/21, 6:32 PM
Farley entered the NFL having undergone spine and ACL surgeries during college. Although he's already been sidelined just 2 weeks in, the silver lining for Titans fans is that the current shoulder issue is NOT related to either of his prior injuries. That is reassuring because it means that it is a new, acute injury that he can recover fully from, and that his pre-existing issues are being controlled well. It would be surprising to see his knee or spine cause problems in 2021, which should mean he becomes available for the Titans in the relatively near future.
Caleb Farley is immensely talented but does carry elevated injury risk related to his spine and ACL surgeries.
Data in NFL players who have spine surgery for disc herniations tells us to expect them to continue their prior performance trajectory. Unfortunately it also suggests that having this diagnosis at a young age may result in shorter careers. The discs act like shock absorbers in the spine, and the surgery works by removing the portion of the disc that has been injured. As a result, the disc’s ability to absorb shock and protect the spine is decreased, and wear and tear accumulates faster. Most likely, this means no short-term issues but elevates risk for longer-term ones.
Additionally, having an ACL tear prior to entering the NFL is another cause for concern. Players who fit this category see decreased production and game participation compared to their peers. Knowing this, the Titans still drafted him as high as they did because his knee is unlikely to make a major dent in the short-term.
Overall, we expect Farley to be relatively durable early on, although there are multiple causes for long-term concern here.
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