Dr. Jeffrey E. Budoff is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who wades through misleading coach-speak and vague team injury information to offer advice for your fantasy team.
Roddy White, Atlanta’s 33 year old wide receiver, informed the media this week that he had his knee drained prior to June minicamp, and expects to need to have it drained again during season. He said he was told that his cartilage is “rippled”, not smooth. He said that physicians recommended that he have arthroscopic surgery to smooth his cartilage out, but he decided not to, choosing instead to play through any knee irritation.
To me, this sounds like articular cartilage damage / early arthritis, which is not uncommon among professional athletes. It’s possible it could also be a meniscal tear, but that wouldn’t be ‘rippled’ (at least as most surgeons would explain it). Remember that ‘articular cartilage’ is the smooth, irreplaceable lining of moving joints, not to be confused with meniscal damage, which some laymen will also call ‘cartilage’. If White did have a meniscal tear that could be eliminated with a simple arthroscopic debridement (clean-up), and that could otherwise lead to long-term arthritis, my guess (not knowing him) is that he’d probably have already had it scoped.
While arthritis of his knee decreases his longevity (for dynasty purposes) and may limit his practice and game reps, I’m not too concerned about it. Apparently, White had his knee drained last year, and missed no time due to it. He’s had his share of missed games over the past two years, but none due to his knee’s condition. I read that Calvin Johnson had his knee drained before multiple games in 2013, and he was awesome that year. I recommend that you check the Friday practice reports during the season if you’re playing White in your fantasy football league, or in DFS. However, this is probably a real life problem much more than it’s a fantasy football problem.