2013 NFL Draft: Jarvis Jones' neck injury a 'non-issue,' report says
According to orthopedist Craig Brigham, Jones never had a serious spinal issue. However it's important to keep this report in perspective.
According to a report by Dan Pompei, Jarvis Jones’ neck injury is a “non-issue” after leading orthopedist Craig Brigham cleared the Georgia linebacker of any serious problems. Pompei added in his report that “there is little chance he will fall out of the top 10.”
Jones’ short- and long-term durability has been a question mark throughout the draft process because it has long been reported that Jones suffers from a condition called spinal stenosis. Or basically, he has a narrowing between the C4 and C5 vertebrae in his neck.
However, in a medical report that was sent to all 32 teams, Brigham says Jones never had a significant spinal cord contusion and it’s more likely he had a very mild incident of spinal cord concussion or merely a stinger that has long since resolved.
Brigham added in his medical report that “Jarvis is cleared to play without restriction.”
Jones suffered a shoulder stinger in 2009 while playing at USC and wasn’t cleared to return to the field by the team training staff. He transferred to Georgia and passed their medical tests in 2011, producing gaudy numbers on the field the past two seasons. Jones missed a few games due to injury while in Athens, but nothing that was related to his prior neck issues.
While the positive report is a good sign for Jones, it’s important to keep a few things in perspective. NFL teams who are interested in possibly drafting the 2012 SEC sacks leader will perform their own due diligence on his injury background. Brigham is considered one of the top doctors in his field so teams will certainly keep the report in mind, but at the end of the day, NFL decision-makers will trust their doctors and training staff on whether or not Jones’ durability will hurt his pro potential.
Similar “positive” reports surfaced before the 2011 NFL Draft regarding the questionable health of DaQuan Bower’s knee. However, NFL teams remained skeptical due to their own medical reports, and the Clemson defensive end was taken off some draft boards completely. Bowers, who was once considered a candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick, ended up falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round as the 51st pick overall.
While the long-term diagnosis is tougher to predict, Rob Rang reported at the combine last month Jones passed the medical evaluation of several teams. It’s also important to note that durability isn’t the only concern with Jones as his lack of elite strength to take on blocks and quickly disengage are also reasons he could fall out of the top 10 on draft day.
Bottom line, any positive diagnosis regarding Jones’ health can’t hurt his draft stock, but it’s important to remember that NFL teams will trust their own medical staff when it comes to Jones’ durability. Teams need to feel comfortable with the long-term diagnosis in order to take him in the top half of the first round, and those discussions at team headquarters will remain behind closed doors.
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