Dr. Robert Watkins confirmed to Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer Thursday that Shawn Andrews‘ back injury is indeed serious and is not all that uncommon for someone who underwent the kind of surgery that Andrews did last season.
“He has flared up,” the physician said in an interview with The Inquirer. “He does not have an injury to the nerve, and there is no bad sciatic, but he is real stiff, and there is a lot of pain in his back. As he is right now, he’s unable to play football because his back is hurt too badly.”
According to Brookover, Watkins confirmed that no further surgery is required, but that he plans on administering one or two more cortisone shots to Andrews in the near future.
“Then he’ll go into the rehab program that focuses on core strength,” Watkins said. “I don’t anticipate any more surgery. That’s not the current plan. He should start the rehab program by Monday.”
So when should we expect Andrews to return to action?
“It’s hard to give an estimate because you don’t know how he’s going to respond to things,” Watkins said. “As soon as there is a decrease in inflammation, we’ll watch to see how he’s doing in his rehab. He’ll be doing an intensive core stabilization program with levels one through five. When you get to level five, the exercises become very sport specific. Sometimes guys get to a level then have a flare-up, and you have to back off.”
Watkins told Brookover that he believes Andrews will play again in the NFL, although it seems increasingly unlikely that will be with the Eagles. This is the second missed season in a row for Andrews, who is/has battled depression and often times appears to lack a desire to be on the football field.
The Eagles hoped that by bringing in his brother Stacey Andrews and his college roommate Jason Peters, his motivation level would increase, but whether or not that happened is debatable, as Shawn Andrews was sidelined with this back injury through the entire summer training camp and most of the preseason. The Eagles placed him on the Injured Reserve list last week, ending his season before it ever started.