Welker's Surgery A Success

According to published reports, Patriots WR Wes Welker's knee surgery was a success. Now, the long road to recovery can begin for the teams top receiver.

Reports: Wes Welker's Surgery Successful

It seems so long ago when the Patriots played the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Yet it was barely a month ago (Jan. 3) when the turf monster reached up to grab Wes Welker's leg putting enough pressure on his knee to cause it to tear two ligaments. That day the ended Welker's season, and most of the hope New England had to go deep into the playoffs.

Surgery on Welker's knee was performed yesterday according to published reports, and the surgery went well, or "at least as well as you could expect a major surgery to go," according to WBZ's Dan Roche.

Tests after the game revealed Welker tore the MCL and ACL ligaments in his knee. According to standard treatment for this type of injury, the MCL is given time to heal so the swelling subsides enough for the ACL to be operated on. That was how Tom Brady's surgery went, and so it was assumed would Welker's.

According to the Boston Herald, the surgery wasn't done in some fancy clinic on the west coast like Brady's, team doctor Thomas Gill operated on Welker at Mass General in Boston.

Though other players have returned from this type of injury to play the following season (see Brady), getting hurt in the last game of the regular season puts Welker's 2010 season in jeopardy. Typical recovery time from this type of injury can take from 6 to 18 months, with a year minimum considered the norm.

Unlike Brady, Welker depends on his knees to help him get to the right spot. The surgery puts in doubt Welker's status for opening day next year. According to one league source, Welker will likely start the season on the team's PUP list to give him extra time to recover. That would buy the Patriots receiver at least another 6 weeks to figure out if he's ready to go.

Replacing Welker

There's no one on the roster who can do what Welker has done the past three seasons - lead the NFL in receptions, except perhaps Randy Moss. Moss' success was largely affected by Welker's performance on the opposite side of the field. Welker's impact on the Patriots offense cannot be overstated; he was the engine that carried the team.

The Patriots will undoubtedly turn to Kent State product Julian Edelman, who played the role of Welker in the team's offense when the injury happened. Edelman is no Welker, but he's as close to a Welker clone as you can get.

Welker finished the 2009 season with 123 receptions for 1,348 yards (career highs). It was his third consecutive season with over 100 catches and over 1,000 yards.

Edelman, in comparison, finished with 37 receptions for 359 yards in 11 games.

Aside from Moss and Edelman, the Patriots have Sam Aiken, Isaiah Stanback, Matt Slater and Darnell Jenkins on the roster. 2009 rookie Brandon Tate tried to return from a knee injury during the season but finished on I/R. He should be ready to go for 2010.

Hot Topic: Welker OK After Surgery

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