The MRI was taken Monday. The news was delivered late Tuesday to him by team doctor Gary Fanton. On Wednesday, junior wide receiver Evan Moore revealed the results to us, ending the month-plus of speculation and worry that has gripped the Stanford community since the moment he dislocated his hip. By itself a nasty enough injury, the hip dislocation suffered at Navy on the evening of September 10, when Moore was dragged down awkwardly from behind out of bounds, also carried the risk for interrupted blood flow to the injured area. That condition, called avascular necrosis (AVN), results in deterioration and death of bone and cartilage in the hip area. In the famous case of 1980s and early 1990s two-sport megastar Bo Jackson, AVN ended his football playing career and left him with a hip replacement.
Monday's MRI for Moore, which lasted an excruciating 80 minutes, finally revealed whether the beloved Stanford junior would face a Jackson-esque fate. On Wednesday, he shared with us that he should again play football.
"They're very pleased with the results. There is no disrupted blood flow at all," Moore reports. "There have been very rare cases of things changing, but my case was a little different than theirs. In [Fanton's] words, and I quote him: 'There is less than a one percent chance' that we could have any kind of a problem... He's basically not even worried."
That news allowed a collective sign of relief from the Cardinal Nation, who feared for the worst. The funny thing is that Moore was much less worried than the Stanford fanbase over this MRI and his future.
"The whole way it was going - the way I felt all the way up until this MRI - this is what I expected," Moore maintains. "I just felt like if things were really going bad and the MRI was going to show up bad, then I would have been feeling a lot worse. I would have felt constant pain when I'm walking, or I wouldn't have been off crutches after six days. I was confident through a lot of prayer and a lot of other people's prayers. A lot of support made it a lot easier, from family and friends, my teammates and everybody. I was confident all the way through I wasn't going to have to deal with the worst case scenario."
Part of that confidence came from close friend Dan Grunfeld, a senior on the men's basketball team. After Moore's injury, he leaned on his former hoops teammate, who himself has recovered this year from a major leg injury. Grunfeld beat the odds with his early and full recovery from a torn ACL and disavowed his friend of all fears. When Moore shared the range of outcomes that the hip injury could yield, including AVN and an end to football, Grunfeld quickly replied, "That's not going to happen." That brazen confidence and positive outlook helped buoy Moore in recent weeks.
"I talked to him a lot throughout my rehab time, just bounced ideas off him," he says of Grunfeld. "He rubbed off on me a little bit."
Now that Moore's football career is assured to continue, the next question is when it will continue. That answer will come at the end of this month, when the 6'7" wideout has his next MRI. There are two layers of cartilage between the ball and socket in his hip joint, and the one closest to the socket is not yet fully attached. That is expected, but limits the types of activities for which Moore is currently cleared.
"That's why you just want to stay away from the pounding right now, so you can let that heal up the right away," he explains. "[Fanton] compared that to carpet not attached to the ground, free-floating a little bit in the joint. They expect that to heal down correctly by the next MRI."
Tuesday's results signaled the start Wednesday of new rehabilitation activities for which Moore had not previously been cleared. He ran in the pool for the first time and can also now work out on an exercise bike. Moore had already been doing some very light squat lifts in the weight room, and now the load on those lifts can increase.
"Squatting a little bit more weight is not an issue," he states. " Jumping and coming down is the problem. When you are running or cutting, your bones are pounding against the joints."
For fans who wonder if Moore will play football for Stanford at some point in November, Wednesday marked only the beginning of a possible return. The next two weeks will be devoted to cardiovascular conditioning, but will be devoid of anything remotely resembling a football activity. If the cartilage is fully attached when Fanton and the medical staff next examine Moore's hip via MRI, then the receiving standout could begin to contemplate his November football future. He would at that time assess the level of his conditioning, and then begin to work on reacquiring the football skills and timing lost after nearly two months away from action.
"Once the results come in from that [MRI], I will really decide," Moore explains. "That decision would be something where Dr. Fanton could say, 'You are good to start getting ready to play.' But it's not like something where Sunday I hear I'm ready, and then Monday I'm full go at practice."
"It also depends on how the next couple weeks go, too - how I feel working out and getting my cardio back," he adds. "The next couple weeks, I'll step it up a lot more. If I feel great in the pool running and feel great on the bike, it all adds together when I try to decide what I'm going to do."
Whether he plays again in 2005 or not, it will be a pleasant position for Moore to find himself in the coming weeks. We now know that he has the opportunity to play football again. For that alone, Cardinalmaniacs™ can celebrate.
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