Richard Sherman sure appears to be okay. The Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl cornerback — including as of this week — apparently suffered a “significant MCL injury” during the season, according to head coach Pete Carroll. That revelation, coupled with the fact that Sherman was never on an injury report, led to an NFL investigation into the matter, because teams are supposed to disclose significant injuries. A recent rumor suggested that the team could be docked as much as a second round pick (it would be an upgraded punishment from the fifth round pick they already lost, not an additional pick lost) but at least one person says that’s unlikely.
Dr. David Chao, a former NFL team doctor for the San Diego Chargers who has gotten Twitter-famous since his departure from the league, wrote that he believes there’s little chance the Seahawks are penalized:
Pete Carroll said Richard Sherman had a “significant” MCL but he was never on an injury report. This led many to expect a Seahawk penalty to come.
I don’t think it will happen. Teams are not required to report all injuries. Trust me that every team’s injury list is longer than the one that is published.
Only significant injuries are required to be reported. This is where the semantics come into play and Pete Carroll is obviously not a physician.
Medically, it is impossible for any CB to play with a significant MCL injury. Of course you can argue that any mild MCL is a significant issue for a defensive back. However, if the MCL was medically graded as mild (even though the coach described it as significant), that will be the loophole that allows the Seahawks to escape league penalties.
Chao makes several good points, though the cynic in me worries that Seattle will be docked simply because they hold a higher status than many other teams. This report gives me optimism that the team will “only” be punished for having light practices that apparently weren’t light enough.