The reason Evan Moore did not enjoy the season he hoped and should have had in 2006 was a stress reaction in the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot. The fourth-year wideout missed four games in the middle of the season and did not return to the starting lineup until the 11th game versus Oregon State. The stress reaction healed partially after Moore took time off the field, and his being fitted with custom orthotics allowed him to return to action for the end of the season. The prognosis for his continued healing of the stress reaction was a matter of a few more weeks, with no impact on his 2007 plans.
As it turns out, his right foot was only half of the story. He had been experiencing some problems with his left ankle dating back to preseason camp in August, and his year-end medical examination in December revealed through X-rays that he had some bone spurs. With the prognosis of only a week on crutches and a quick return to the football field, Moore elected to have his ankle cleaned up on January 16. At the end of that surgery, Moore awoke to find that the doctors discovered and operated on something else. He had cartilage that was separating from bone in his ankle - a serious problem that was only going to worsen.
Moreover, the doctors concluded that this problem in Moore's left ankle was likely a major contributor to the stress reaction he suffered in September, running with uneven force to compensate for the other ankle/foot. If this detached cartilage was not rectified in January, Moore would have been doomed to repeat and suffer more injuries this year, with increasing effects and consequences.
Finding and fixing the problem is the good news. It also gives Moore a better explanation for the stress reaction which mystified and concerned him so much. The bad news is the prolonged recovery and rehabilitation this winter and spring that stretches far beyond what he had expected with the simple bone spurs. Moore was ordered six weeks on crutches with no load-bearing activities of any kind on the repaired ankle. In March he started walking and the process of rehabilitating a greatly weakened left leg and ankle. Only last week did he begin running again. Last week was spring break for Moore and his college classmates, but he stayed at Stanford to rehabilitate and train rather than vacationing.
Stanford starts the first of 15 spring practices tomorrow, which will span the next three and a half weeks. Moore is not cleared for participation and will be a sideline observer. The conservative projection has him missing the first half of spring ball, though he could join his teammates sooner. Next Tuesday April 10 marks the 12-week anniversary of Moore's surgery, which is when the doctors told him he could return to football. If he feels conditioned and ready, he could join practices that Wednesday and participate in the final 11 practices of the spring schedule.
"Trainers say that toward the end of spring ball, he might have a chance to get out there and compete in some 'seven-on-seven' and things like that," says head coach Jim Harbaugh. "When you tell Evan that, he says, 'I'll be ready in a week to a week and a half.' I know that he is anxious to do that, but we have to be smart."
Evan Moore is projected as a starter and one of the key components for the new Cardinal offense. The 6'7" fifth-year senior has 64 career receptions for 1,074 yards and 11 touchdowns in a Stanford uniform.
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