A surgeon who specializes in hand and wrist procedures said Thursday that Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay faces a long recovery once surgery is completed.
Lindsay sustained a right wrist injury Monday at Oakland and will have an operation.
“It’s a pretty serious injury,” said Dr. Steven Shin, director of hand surgery at Cedars-Sinai’s Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, in a phone interview. “With the right treatment, he should still be able to play effectively. He may never have the same wrist strength as before, but pretty close.”
If Lindsay sustained a fractured scaphoid bone, Shin said the likely ligament tear is to the scapholunate ligament, which connects the scaphoid and lunate bones.
Shin said the way Lindsay’s wrist bent backward usually occurs when a person uses their hand to brace a fall, but also in a vehicle accident when a driver or passenger’s hand crashes against the dashboard.
“The ligament injury is more serious in my mind because there is no predictable way to fix it,” said Shin, who performed the fracture and ligament surgery last year on an NFL lineman. “We do our best to repair or reconstruct the ligament.
“A running back handling the football, it will be more difficult than if he was a lineman or a linebacker.”
If Lindsay did sustain a fracture, Shin said the surgery would include inserting pins. After eight weeks in a cast, the pins would be removed and then rehabilitation could begin.
Confirming what Broncos coach Vance Joseph said Wednesday, Shin noted the recovery time is expected to be 3-4 months.
Once Lindsay returns to the field, Shin said wearing a brace is not automatically necessary.
“Four months after the surgery, if it feels pretty good, he doesn’t need a brace,” Shin said. “But he could for comfort reasons, but not for medical reasons.”
Rooting for Raiders. The Chargers need a win over the Broncos on Sunday and a Kansas City loss to Oakland to secure both the AFC West title and conference’s top playoff seed.
“It’s weird to be rooting for the Raiders, but that’s nature of this business,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said.
Said quarterback Philip Rivers: “Yeah, a little bit (odd). I think first and foremost — and Coach Lynn made it clear, and I think he’s dead on — just worry about us.”
Feeling better. Inside linebacker Brandon Marshall could be playing his last game with the Broncos. He has played two games since returning from a bone bruise (knee) that cost him five games.
Marshall played 36 of 67 snaps against Cleveland and 24 of 62 at Oakland, making four tackles in each game. He was limited to the Broncos’ dime package (two linemen, three linebackers and six defensive backs).
“I felt better in the (Oakland) game — felt really good,” Marshall said. “I just want to build on it for this last one. It’s really important to me. I just want to play well for my future, wherever that may be.”
Ekeler returns. Chargers running back Austin Ekeler, the pride of Eaton, Colo., who starred at Western State, is expected to play Sunday after missing the last two games with a concussion.
“We’re going to put him out there,” Lynn said. “He looked good (Wednesday) in practice. It’s just getting his timing back, catching the ball, running and things like that.”
Ekeler has rushed 98 times for 496 yards (two touchdowns) and caught 39 passes for 404 yards (three touchdowns).
Injury report. Cornerback Brendan Langley was cleared from the concussion protocol and practiced Thursday. Receiver Andre Holmes (ankle) sat out and tight end Matt LaCosse (ankle) was limited.