New Orleans Saints defensive end Junior Galette over the past two weeks has been dealing with a knee injury.The five-year veteran played just 27 snaps in Monday’s game against the Chicago Bears, which he recorded two sacks and a forced fumble. It appears that he will continue to play in a limited role for the remainder of the season due to his injury.
Galette had suffered the injury just before halftime in the Saints’ 41-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 7. He returned to the game briefly in the third quarter, but he had a noticeable limp when attempted to tackle Panthers running back Fozzy Whittaker on his 26-yard touchdown catch.
He has called the game plan for him to play a set number of snaps “smart” because he feels that his knee still isn’t 100 percent healed.
“Probably the same thing going into this game. Kind of ease off the knee a little bit,” Galette said. “Right now my knee’s not 100 percent. So just being smart and making sure I’m not playing 60 snaps on half a knee.”
This approach by Galette and New Orleans moving forward is one that is wisely on the side of caution, especially with a leg injury that has the potential to worsen if overused.
Knee injuries are common in the world of sports, which requires proper care and treatment to allow them to fully heal and prevent any further damage. The typical injuries that athletes usually suffer in relation to the knee are fractures, dislocations, sprains, and ligament tears.
In Galette’s case, he appears to have no structural damage to his knee, but there is still a probably chance that another injury can occur.
One type of cartilage injury that can take place is a meniscus tear, which is common in a contact sports such as football. The meniscus are the two wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage that perform as the “shock absorbers” in the location between your thighbone and shinbone.
A tear in this area usually occurs when a player may be twisting, cutting, or pivoting their knee. This can also be the case when the knee receives direct contact in situations when the player is making a tackle.
The most common type of tears include longitudinal, parrot-beak, flap, bucket handle, and mixed/complex. These injuries often occur when a player also suffers a anterior cruciate ligament tear.
However, if Galette continues to have knee pain he can also go to route of knee arthroscopy. It is a surgical procedure in which the doctor makes a small incision that allows them to use a small camera to get a clear view of the inside of the knee. This helps the doctor to correctly diagnose and treat the injured knee(s).
That said, it will be best for the 26-year-old to remain on a limited snap count until his knee is completely pain free, which will likely be the case in the offseason. Galette may be tittering with possibly suffering a worse injury, but his limited role could go a long ways in maintaining the health of his knee and keep him on the field.
Junior Galette Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle – USA TODAY Sports
Meniscus Photo Credit: Inky Mouse Studios