Written:

4/12/20

Trouble for Tua?

Big news on Tua in the last 24 hours. We break it down:

Well-connected NFL insider, Mike Lombardi, stated that Tua underwent repair of a broken wrist at Alabama, and subsequently re-broke the wrist upon returning to play. Additionally, Lombardi reported that two teams failed Tua on his physical.

So what does this all mean?

Hard to say for sure, but probably not a ton.

Details about exactly what wrist structures he injured aren’t public, but we do know that we have seen him play - and excel - since the injury. Does this mean he’s going to have injury problems down the road? There’s no clear evidence in the medical literature to suggest that.

What about the failed physicals?

Video from Tua’s virtual Pro Day (posted on TMZ) clearly shows good functional motion. On April 2, Dr. Thomas Byrd (extremely well-regarded Nashville-based hip and sports specialist) performed a full examination for all NFL teams with highly positive results. Importantly, Dr. Byrd is considered an independent examiner in this case, as he was neither Tua’s operating surgeon nor team physician.

Tua was in Nashville on both 4/2 and 4/9, and in the coronavirus era, it is highly unlikely that another formal physical was somehow performed by another doctor in the interim. The sheer number of injuries may be the reason for the reported failed physicals, but we’re not inclined to disagree with one of the world’s most elite sports doctors who just evaluated him in person a week ago.

Some teams look to inflate values of their picks or lower the draft position of players they’re interested in, so it’s hard to know which headlines are accurate. However, based on our most reliable information, we don’t expect this to change Tua’s prognosis for a full recovery, and we don’t have medical evidence to indicate that he is expected to sustain recurrent injuries as a pro.

Image source: Redbird310, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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