Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram, normally a very reliable source of information, writes via Twitter that Sean Lee has been playing with a partially torn ACL his entire NFL career.
Cowboys LB Sean Lee came into league with partially torn acl. It was a ticking bomb. Now it's fixed. Knee should be stronger than before— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) June 12, 2014
Cowboys are confident Sean lee can and will still have long career with a stronger, surgically repaired knee.— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) June 12, 2014
It was the partial tear that showed up on his predraft MRI. The cowboys knew it was there. It's why he fell to the second round.— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) June 12, 2014
Hill's colleague at the Star-Telegram, Charean Williams, confirms the torn ACL story:
Lee partially tore the ACL in the left knee in 2009 while a senior at Penn State and never had it repaired.
I'm not a medical professional, so I can't do anything but speculate, and perhaps I'm doing a disservice to Lee and the team with this speculation, but this whole story has a weird feeling to it.
They say that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and in Sean Lee's case, the best time to fix that ACL, if indeed it had a tear, could have been his rookie season, or perhaps the 2012 season when he was put on injured reserve anyway in October after suffering a toe injury on his right foot.
Already there is speculation that perhaps his other injuries could have been a direct or indirect result of that weakened knee.
However, there was no indication whatsoever over the last four years that Lee's knee was anything less than fully functional, and depending on how severe that partial tear was, maybe surgery didn't make sense. But you've still got to wonder about the type of risk/return analysis the Cowboys are running that tells them it's okay to have your best defensive player running around on a partially torn ACL. Or, to put it a little more bluntly, to have a time-bomb ticking away at the heart of their defense.
Our own Tom Ryle, ever looking forward of course, quotes from the Kool-Aid Drinker's Manifesto.
So if Lee was Sean freaking Lee on one bad wheel all this time . . .
In any case, Lee's surgery today seems to have gone well:
"He had surgery this morning and by all accounts the surgery went well," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "I talked to Sean extensively about it yesterday. He feels good about it and got him all cleaned up, and he’ll be back and doing his rehab before you know it and he’ll be back on the playing field before you know it."
Now we'll keep our fingers crossed that head trainer Jim Maurer will be right about Sean Lee returning stronger.
"I have already told him, 'We're going to be fine,'" Maurer said. "You're going to play for six more years. This ACL, we're going to get this fixed."