When Denver Broncos starting quarterback Trevor Siemian was reported as having “elective” surgery after the season, most thought it was not a big deal. Brandon Stokely of 104.3 The Fan reported on Friday that Siemian’s injury was a Grade 5 AC Joint Sprain, which is actually a pretty major injury.
The reported recovery time is 5-6 months after surgery, which would put Siemian on track to be back to full strength by training camp. Troy Renck reported that Siemian is out of the sling and hopes to be ready for OTAs, but that may be unlikely given the timelines for this type of injury recovery outlined below:
If surgery is necessary then it is necessary to use a sling for the first 6 weeks in order to counteract the force of gravity on the repair and allow initial healing of the reconstruction. Gentle passive external rotation exercises of the shoulder begin immediately after surgery will prevent the shoulder joint itself from getting stiff during the time it is in the sling. At the six week mark x-rays are checked and the sling is removed. At this point range of motion exercises are initiated in order to restore shoulder motion. No load or resistance exercises are permitted for the first for the first 3 months of recovery. After 3 months a formal physical therapy program to restore full motion and strength can begin. Return to most sports and activities can begin at 3 months if there has been acceptable clinical recovery progress. It is strongly advised that activities that specifically load the AC joint such as weight lifting be avoided for the first 6 months in order to prevent any changes in the joint as the biologic connections are restored.
Given this information, he should be out of the sling by now, but still has a way to go before he can return to “most sports and activities”. I am not sure NFL football would fall under that category, which puts the 5-6 month timeframe as a bit more reliable.
What this does is give Paxton Lynch a huge head start and with the starting quarterback job already named as a wide open competition by the new coaching regime, Siemian will need to rehabilitate and keep sharp mentally to compete to keep his starting job heading into camp. The starting job won’t be won in OTAs anyway, so Siemian should have every chance to compete once training camp begins.
The good news for him is that its on his non-throwing shoulder and with the surgery he’ll get it repaired correctly for his long-term health.
Update - 2/24 1:00 PM MT
The Broncos Patrick Smyth weighed in reiterating that the plan is still for Siemian to be ready by the start of OTAs, which is around April 3rd since they have a new head coach.