Josh Freeman's Broken Thumb: Reasons Not To Worry

Dwight Drum@@racetakeCorrespondent IIIAugust 23, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 27:  Quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws the ball against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on December 27, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman sustained a fractured thumb during his team's August 21  preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs and will miss playing time until the first regular season game on Sept. 12. By now most fans know that his injury could have been much worse, but here five good reasons that should dispel time spent in any worry mode. 


Slight break:

A slight break is barely visible on an X-ray to an untrained eye, and has a much faster recovery period than worse breaks.

No cast:

A significant break requires plaster and fiberglass casts to keep the fractured bone immobile during healing. Recovery time is significantly longer when casts are required.

No surgery required:

A severe break sometimes requires surgery to reposition the bone plus an application of a series of casts over the healing period. Recovery time is usually significantly longer because of the need for surgery.

Break location:

Freeman’s slight break was at the tip of thumb, not the base of the thumb. A break near the base of the thumb is more severe, and could even be considered a broken hand depending upon the position.

Healing period:

Slight bone breaks generally have a brief healing period requiring only rest and physical therapy.

Here’s is a sixth reason not to worry that needs no explanation.

Age factor:

Joshua Tyler Freeman (born January 13, 1988 in Kansas City, Missouri) is just 22-years old.

I'm no doctor. So how do I know about bone breaks? Through stupidity, of course, and an encounter with NASCAR star named Jeff Gordon.

During an ESPN Disney day in 2009 I was covering Gordon’s Aladdin ride with his young daughter Ella Sofia and wife Ingrid Vandebosch.

As the photogenic family walked up the ramp to take a seat in the Disney kiddy ride, a real-time photo opportunity occurred that propelled me to seek a better position to snap a coveted image. The urge to get the shot overcame the good sense to pick up a dragging left foot. The ride waiting area had three foot corral chains separating lanes for crowds. When my left foot snagged in the chain I went down swiftly – with a thump.

Gordon stopped and asked, “Are you okay?”

After saving the camera, I got up, dusted off and moved my arms and legs to be sure I could still do that and replied, “I think so.”

Gordon continued on the path to the ride and I moved along to snap shots. When I called his name he turned around for a moment. I asked him for one more shot and joked about the tumble, he responded.

“Man, it’s not that important. It’s not worth falling.”

Later that evening after driving home his words had more meaning. My left elbow that slammed the concrete had swollen and stiffened. By early morning I was sitting in the emergency room at James Haley V.A. hospital in Tampa. During the late morning my arm was X-rayed and a staff doctor directed me to the specialist section for a slight break in the radial bone of my arm. Before noon an orthopedic surgeon told me about the hairline fracture.

The remedy was stretching the bare arm over the next two months to get it to back the proper range-of-motion. He also told me that the good news is I had a slight hairline fracture which doesn’t require surgery, but the bad news is I had a slight fracture (the pain is anything but slight.)

At least I saved the camera and got the shot.

The conclusion to this story as it relates to Freeman’s present condition is that a slight break at the tip of a thumb is in no way as bad as one near an elbow. Remember too, Freeman is at least three decades younger, his youth will aide in his healing time.

Some fans worry about Freeman missing too much preseason play to be effective in the regular season. That brings up a seventh reason not to worry.

Eagerness factor: 

Freeman will be very eager to play after being on the sidelines watching for a few weeks. In terms of a productive career, this time could be no more than a blink in a blur.

Over the next few weeks fans can observe the young man healing fast.


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