Matt Barkley Injury Report: Final Prognosis for USC QB's Pro Career

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Matt Barkley Injury Report: Final Prognosis for USC QB's Pro Career
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Will Carroll is taking a look at the top draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft with any medical questions. He takes in a full spectrum of info, including injury history and exclusive medical insight. 

PLAYER:

Matt Barkley 6'3", 227, quarterback from Southern Cal

INJURY HISTORY:

A four-year starter at USC, Barkley was relatively healthy throughout his career, though he did have minor injuries (usually related to a lack of protection) until the end of his senior campaign. A hit drove his shoulder into the turf and caused a Grade III separation.

The ligament damage did not require surgery, but it did need an extended rehab. Tests showed there was no significant damage to the soft tissue. Barkley started his winter workouts at the IMG Academy, but shifted to Champions Sports Medicine in Birmingham, where his rehab was overseen by Kevin Wilk.

Wilk's gold star on Barkley, along with a gold star from Jim Andrews, puts Matt in the same position as Sam Bradford a few years ago. Very few team physicians want to overrule the judgement of a top surgeon like Andrews. 

COMBINE/PRO DAY:

Barkley was unable to take part in the performance aspects at the combine, but did participate in the medical and interview portions. Aside from the known shoulder issue, Barkley had no issues medically. He reportedly did very well in interviews, showing intelligence and leadership, putting him back in the discussion for being the top quarterback in the draft, along with Geno Smith. 

At the USC pro day, Barkley was able to perform in all aspects, though he was not yet cleared for contact. He reportedly made all his throws and looked good, but it's clear his arm is not yet at full strength. This is actually a bit of a positive. Teams know that he does have some healing left to do and that some strength should be added. 

DRAFT STATUS:

Barkley is yet another player with a broad range of possibilities on draft day. He is projected to go anywhere from third overall to deep in the second round. B/R's Matt Miller has Barkley going to the Texans in the middle of the second round in his most recent mock.

Barkley's Pro Day showing has given teams more confidence in his ability to play, but as with Matt Leinart, he seems to have been more exposed by returning for his senior season, leading to what could be a very steep drop in the draft. 

PRO PROGNOSIS:

By the time a team gets to Week 1 of the NFL season, Barkley's shoulder should be back to game condition. These types of injuries do not tend to be recurrent, but they can be worse if they happen again. For quarterbacks, it is exactly this type of hit that can cause problems (QBs like Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford have had similar issues from similar hits). Any offensive coordinator is going to try and avoid this no matter who his signal-caller is, so the history shouldn't affect Barkley's career. 

These reports were compiled from various cited sources. All draft data courtesy NFL.com. There is no Inside Look from Dr. Neal ElAttrache in this report, as there is in similar reports on top draft prospects, because ElAttrache examined Barkley. 

Will Carroll is the Lead Writer for Sports Medicine at Bleacher Report. 

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