Missouri senior wide receiver Jimmie Hunt underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a torn ligament in the acromioclavicular AC joint in his left shoulder that will force him to miss the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 against Minnesota in Orlando, Florida.
Hunt had been in constant “day-to-day” dialogue with doctors over the past few days, but they deemed that the pain was too much for him to play through.
The AC joint is located at the meeting point of the acromion and clavicle bones in the shoulder area, which is often specified with a visible bump in the region. Injuries to the area often occur to due a fall or other trauma, which may force the acromion to move or become separated from the clavicle, or cause the ligaments to be stretched or torn.
In terms of Hunt’s injury, he tore the ligament in his left AC joint. In many situations the professional athlete can avert surgery by undergoing physical therapy and receiving other treatment, but it is often too painful of an injury to play through. For Hunt, the injury was determined to be too much shoulder pain for him to continue to play this season.
In the cases where the players are able to play through the pain, the ligament tear is confirmed with an MRI or CAT scan that helps determine the extent of the injury. This is important part in figuring out the type of treatment and therapy needed depending on the severity of the injury.
That said, the best way to manage a AC joint ligament tear is through shoulder arthroscopy because of how deep the structure is in the shoulder. An experienced surgeon and anesthesia are needed to do this operative procedure.
If the player can play through it, they will wear a protective shoulder brace or harness that is secured to their body or pads with tape. This helps keep the shoulder protected within a limited range of motion. This combined with taking anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce the swelling and pain in the shoulder during practices and games helps make playing a possibility.
However, if the pain does increase even with these precautionary measures, the player is recommended to stop playing in order to allow the injury to fully heal. Often times, surgery may still be an option at that point in time.
For Hunt, he chose to go the safe route by taking care of the issue all together by electing to undergo surgery. The recovery process is said to take at least four to six weeks for the labrum to reattach itself, and about another four-to-six weeks for it to get stronger.
It will be a grueling recovery process for the senior receiver, but the decision to undergo surgery will be beneficial for him in the long term for his playing career.
If you suffer from shoulder pain, contact our sports medicine specialists at Orthopedic Surgery San Diego for an appointment.
Jimmie Hunt Photo Credit: David Richard AP
Shoulder Labrum Photo Credit: Kansas City Bone & Joint Clinic