Orthopedic surgeon provides some general optimism for Tank Carradine rehab

Jason O. Watson

Tank Carradine's rehab took a bit of a hit with word that he needed a procedure to clean out scar tissue. We take a look at one surgeon's optimistic report from a general perspective.

Last week, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh told Combine media that defensive lineman Tank Carradine had a procedure earlier in the offseason to remove a mass of scar tissue from his surgically repaired right knee. The condition that resulted in the procedure is called arthrofibrosis, and naturally some of us reacted a bit more negatively than others.

If you're looking for a positive spin on this, Eric Branch spoke with an orthopedic surgeon about the matter, and got some optimistic thoughts. It is worth noting the doctor spoke in general terms because he is not privy to the specifics of Tank Carradine's situation.

"I wouldn't say it's routine, but when it occurs the team of surgeons will focus on it," Mandelbaum said. "They'll take care of it, clean up the scar tissue, take care of whatever manipulations they need and, at the end of all that, the prognosis is very good ...

"In general, when you have a significant high-energy injury to the knee - an ACL (tear), an MCL - there's a direct relationship between the severity of the injury and the amount of scar tissue that occurs. A simple injury? No chance of scar tissue. A more complicated injury. More scar tissue."

We'll start to get a better idea of Tank's status as the offseason workout program begins in late April. The 49ers can hit the practice field as soon as April 21. The first couple of week are all about strength, conditioning and rehab. We'll probably get some comments from Harbaugh during this period, but we won't have a strong handle on it. After those first two weeks, the team gets into more teaching and individual work. That might give us a better idea of where Tank's rehab stands. If he is able to focus in on that portion of on-field work, that would certainly be a plus. We'll find out more in two months.

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