Days after CBS Sports' resident Bengals expert John Breech argued that Cincy'scould be to place Burrow on injured reserve, CBS Sports HQ injury analyst Marty Jaramillo says that's precisely the right move.
"When it's reported there's been a tweak or aggravation," Jaramillo said Friday, "that means some amount of scar tissue that's been laid down for healing has been torn. The player takes a step back. The question is, how far did he step back? Saying he's 'day to day' is highly optimistic and quite unrealistic. Terms related to his availability like, 'We'll see' and 'day to day,' they sound to me like they're coming from an elite, optimistic athlete. I believe he should be out at least four weeks."
Jaramillo, who's practiced as a sports physical therapist and athletic trainer for more than 30 years, knows a four-week absence would be "aggressive," seeing as these decisions are collaborative, incorporating opinions of team doctors, coaches and of course the player. He also believes the Bengals "felt comfortable with the feedback" on Burrow's recovery prior to the season -- not only from doctors but Burrow himself -- which is why he was cleared to play. In other words, there's no reason to second-guess whether the QB was rushed back; every recovery plays out differently.
But the first two weeks of Burrow's season are reason enough for Jaramillo to recommend a pivot.
"Here's what we know: He was out for a month prior to the start of the season, which means he had what we'd call a moderate strain, with a four- to six-week healing window," he explained. "He came back on the earlier side of that for the start of the season, and already we've seen his mobility being challenged. And here's what many folks don't know: There's an innate tentativeness that comes with calf strains. The tear occurs during the phase from drop-back to push-off in the pocket. And you remember when you tore it the first time. The tentativeness comes from the injury memory. Without question his mobility has been affected."
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A trip to injured reserve would help Burrow's calf fully heal, Jaramillo said, while also aid in long-term prevention of future injuries, such as an Achilles tear. Short of this, Burrow "runs the risk of playing with this all season," and not only that, but experiencing worsened effects. It may not be an easy pill for the QB, the Bengals or their fans to swallow, but Jaramillo is clear: "I think that the Joe Burrow we expect and we have seen, that Joe Burrow needs prolonged rest."