The Seattle Seahawks hit the actual practice field for the first time in training camp Wednesday, giving fans and observers alike the first opportunity to see the new faces in action. Some of those fans were anxious to see included 2020 first round pick Jordyn Brooks, as well as 2021 and 2022 first round pick Jamal Adams. However, one name fans had hoped to see in action will need a little more recovery time before he is ready for action.
Pete Carroll is unsure of how long Darrell Taylor will be on PUP. Sounds like it will be at least a few more weeks. Lingering issues from his offseason shin surgery. Not ideal.— Joe Fann (@Joe_Fann) August 12, 2020
So, second round pick Darrell Taylor out of Tennessee, who many fans had hoped could come in and make an immediate impact for a pass rush that appears to be lacking at the moment, will be out “a few more weeks” according to head coach Pete Carroll. For the sake of both Taylor and the team, hopefully “a few more weeks” really means just a few weeks. On the flip side, there is obviously the possibility that this could turn into a situation similar to K.J. Wright in 2018, where “a few more weeks” translated to just five games played over the course of the season.
In any case, with extremely limited information to go on, what is known is that Taylor had surgery to address a fractured tibia in January. While it may seem like six or seven months should be enough time for a bone to heal after being surgically repaired, reaching out to regular Field Gulls medical consultant Dr. John Gilbert, a retired orthopedic surgeon, yielded the following:
Depending on the location of the fracture, that’s an injury that can be slower to heal. It’s not uncommon for a tibia to need a full year post-op before its back to pre-break stregth. This is particularly true if the fracture is of the cortical mid-shaft variety, which is a rather non-vascular area, meaning healing can take time. Once this type of procedure is completed, it basically becomes a race to see whether the tibia heals before the rod fails.
Most of that is pretty simple to understand - there are parts of the tibia, which is the bone Taylor broke at Tennessee, which don’t receive a lot of bloodflow, and are therefore often slow to heal, even after being surgically repaired. As for the last part, however, I requested a bit more clarification. In layman’s terms, what it boils down to is that when a person of Taylor’s size (267 pounds) has a rod inserted into the tibia, every time weight is placed on that leg the rod will be stressed. If, over time the rod is stressed to the point where it gives out before the bone has completely healed, then the process basically starts all over again with surgery.
This is, apparently, a much bigger concern with older patients whose bodies are slower to heal than that of a 23 year old professional athlete, so this is unlikely to be the case for Taylor. However, the fact that Taylor is not a small individual makes it something to keep in the back of the mind just in case “a few weeks” turns into “a few months” or “next season”.
Of note, however, is that even if the injury keeps Taylor on the sideline for the entirety of his rookie season, it would not burn a year of team control. Because the tibia fracture was suffered in college, Taylor is on the Non-Football injury list, meaning that if he is inactive for the entire year he would not earn an accrued season, and would thus finish his rookie contract with only three accrued seasons. That would make him a restricted free agent, rather than an unrestricted free agent, at the conclusion of his rookie deal. However, for the sake of Taylor, the sanity of Seahawks fans and the performance of the team’s pass rush in 2020, here’s to hoping he is cleared for full activity soon and is able to contribute in a meaningful way this season and beyond.