Last week, playing the role of the Detroit Lions general manager for the SB Nation NFL Mock Draft, Sean Yuille selected Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers with the 13th pick.
It appears that Sean’s thought process was right in line with actual Lions GM Martin Mayhew because Sports Illustrated’s Peter King reported in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column that the team is considering taking him if he drops to the 13th pick.
Detroit really likes Da’Quan Bowers, bad knee and all, and could take him at 13.
Right after that, however, King also wrote that a team doctor who recommended that Bowers be taken off his club’s draft board believes that the defensive end’s knee might require microfracture surgery.
And if that’s the case, MLive.com’s Tom Kowalski thinks the Lions need to steer clear and far away from Bowers.
Microfracture surgery is such a dicey proposition that it’s not worth the risk. While it’s possible that Bowers could bounce back from that kind of procedure, it’s just as possible that Bowers would be in and out of the lineup for the next several years with the Lions spinning their wheels in the process.
The history of professional athletes returning healthy after microfracture surgery isn’t very strong. Baseball is different from football, of course, but the Tigers’ Carlos Guillen had microfracture surgery on his left knee last September and his return is uncertain. Clete Thomas also had the procedure done, but in June, and almost made the major league team out of spring training. So maybe a full recovery is simply a matter of time.
That is, unless it isn’t. Chris Webber was never the same player after he underwent microfracture surgery, losing his explosiveness and agility. The Pistons’ Tracy McGrady had the procedure last year and has been inconsistent at best in his return to the court.
NFL players who have had microfracture surgery recently include the Saints’ Darren Sharper, the Giants’ Steve Smith and the Buccaneers’ Kellen Winslow, Jr.
It seems like a tremendous risk for the Lions to take when they’ll need immediate contributions from (and pay big money to) their first-round pick. And who’s to say Bowers would be ready for the regular season, let alone training camp, if he had such a procedure on his knee?
Maybe the Lions, thinking the NFL lockout would delay or cancel next season, believe Bowers would be worth the risk because he’d receive plenty of time to recover and rehab his injured knee.
Or maybe, as Gregg Rosenthal suggested at Pro Football Talk, the Lions are bluffing in hopes that a team selecting before them takes Bowers. That would allow a player Detroit prefers to drop to the No. 13 pick.