Philadelphia Eagles News

Head Athletic Trainer Rick Burkholder on Shawn Andrews

Opening Remarks: "I think the best thing to do with the (G) Shawn (Andrews) situation is to take you through the history right up until this morning. Coming into Philadelphia and into Arkansas, Shawn, in high school, had a herniated disc in his back, which we knew about. He had it injected in high school, did fine through Arkansas and did fine through all his years here. If you recall back to the Dallas game on the 15th of September, he got hurt in the first half, he couldn't play in the second half. We did an MRI on the next day, Monday the 16th, and it showed that he had the herniated disc in his back. It did not look new, it looked like it was the same disc that we knew about coming in. However, he had symptoms now. On the 18th of September he had his back injected. He got no relief from that. He saw Dr. Carrol, our back specialist, on the 21st who said to give the shot a chance. He didn't improve. On the 16th, he had his back injected again and had it improve for one day and then it really leveled off. On the 13th of October he went out to Los Angeles and saw Dr. Robert Watkins, Sr. and, at that time, Dr. Watkins thought that with his history of symptoms and injections that the quickest recovery for Shawn would be to have his back operated on and have a microdisectomy. Yesterday, the 21st, at Marina Delray hospital in California, Dr. Robert Watkins, Sr. did a microdisectomy on Shawn's L-4/L-5 disc. They're numbered by how they sit between the vertebrae, so it's lumbar 4/5. He had good success with the surgery, he took the fragments out and Shawn's in Marina Delray hospital recovering now."

On how long a typical recovery for this injury is: "It's hard, with any injury we struggle to compare guy to guy, or across the league. Dr. Watkins gave us the six weeks to three months category. We've had that before and guys will come back in five weeks, or guys have taken three months. It depends on when he get his strength back and his symptoms go away. We're just going to play it week-by-week with him right now."

On whether the time period is until Andrews can play again or start rehabbing: "Six weeks to return to play. He'll start rehab today."

On what type of rehab Andrews will be doing: "Basically, they're going to try and do two things with him out there until he gets back her with us and then we'll continue it. Flexibility and core strengthening; he's got to get all his muscles between his chest and his knees, front, back and sides taken care of."

On whether this could be a reoccurring injury over his career: "We hope not. It's like any other injury. Everytime you get an injury, you have a little notch on your stick there, but Dr. Watkins believes that he got the fragments of the herniated disc out and he should sail. He didn't have any kind of narrowing of the spine where they had to take bone away or anything like that that we see causes longer term effects. We think that this was the best approach for Shawn, we think he got taken care of and once he gets through the rehab process, we'll be able to sail ahead with him."

On whether other offensive linemen have had this injury and what their recovery has been like: "We've had other linemen. It's ahrd to compare because it depends on where it is, and whether they had to take bone away and how much disc they had to take out. But, we've had other linemen and they've recovered and they've recovered fine."

On how similar Andrews' injury is to T Tra Thomas' lower back injury for which he saw Dr. Watkins in 2005: "Similar. Not identical, but similar. It's a comparison because they play the same position and they had some of the same symptoms and they had the same surgeon, but everybody's different, everybody's center of gravity it different, everybody's core is different, everybody's flixiblity is different, so it's really, really hard to compare Shawn to anybody else."

On whether there was a particular impact in the Dallas game that triggered the injury: "He got hurt on an extra point. He took on a double team and he got symptoms right away. He tried to play in the second half and just couldn't do it."

On whether any of the disc fragments were visible in the MRI that was taken: "You can't see the fragments until you get in there (in surgery), but we did see that he had a hernicated disc that matched up to the herniated disc that we knew about. The radiologist read it as nothing new, but that doesn't mean that you don't get symptoms from it. It just means that you don't get new disc material in there. It irritated an old injury."

On whether it's harder for a bigger guy to recover from this injury: "In the general population, I think bigger people struggle with this injury. But, I think these guys, they're big guys who are very athletic so I think they recover fine. I think it's an interesting question, but I think that, in the athletic population, those offensive linemen/defensive linemen do well with this injury."

On when Andrews will be able to fly back to Philly: "We don't know that yet. We'll decide that with Dr. Watkins. I know that he's got to be there for five days, minimum, and then Dr. Watkins and I are going to get on the phone and talk about when it's best for him to comeback. That is a long flight in a flexed up position and that's something that we're trying to avoid. He may stay out there longer than what a guy would if he went to get a knee surgery or shoulder surgery, something like that."

On whether the five days are all spent in the hospital: "I don't think it's five days in a hospital, but (Dr. Watkins) wants to check him again in five days to see where he's at and get a course of treatment from there."

On whether Andrews had surgery in high school when the injury first happened: "No, he's never had surgery, he had an injection. We don't know a whole lot about that treatment. We don't have tons and tons of records from these guys in high school. We do know about it. He told me he got injected once and was fine. He never had any back problems here or at Arkansas."

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