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  • Writer's pictureRandon Hall, MD

Julian Edelman - Rib Injury

(Modified) Photo by Nino Liverani on Unsplash

Julain Edelman's Injured Rib

Julian Edelman sustained a significant rib injury today. X-rays were negative but my concern is for a cartilage injury. Can also be referred to cartilage fracture or separated ribs. This injury is unique in that it is not actually of the bony part of the rib, it is of the cartilage connection of the rib to the sternum.

If it is incomplete, this means that it has not broken all the way through the cartilage attachment. These type of injuries likely occur from either direct impact to the area or from wear and tear through the season. The diagnosis is usually made with an MRI of the chest which is typically used when looking for a stress injury or injury to the cartilage. Many times rib fractures are unlikely to show up on an x-ray. Return to play is a true unknown in this situation, but LeSean McCoy was out for 2-3 weeks last year. When the rib injury affect the bony aspect of the rib we have a good idea to how long the bone will take to heal. When it affects the cartilage healing rates can vary dramatically and it can become a recurring issue that returns when activity is resumed.

Rib Fracture Insights

Generally, bony rib fractures can be tender to the touch for approximately 3 weeks. Treatment can be as basic as icing, bracing, taking oral pain medication and limited activity until resolution of pain. However, more aggressive treatment may include injecting numbing medication around the nerve that goes to the rib or at the site of the injury, which has risks. Of note, when injury occurs to the cartilage and is persistent, one could attempt a cortisone injection in the cartilage area to reduce pain and inflammation.

What is the impact on Edelman?

It is possible that the rib injury could resolve within one to two weeks and Edelman is ready to go soon, but I have my doubts. This type of an injury will be affected from twisting, turning and body to body impact. It will also impact deep breathing and the ability to take deep breaths during the game. I expect this to effect Edelman in pass catching, blocking and taking a hit. He may even need to play with a protective rib padding on which could impact his game even further. If the injury is at the cartilage and not at the bone, it is very well possible this continues to bother him throughout the season.


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