The Houston Texans are using comforting phrases like "should be fine" and "minor" about Ed Reed's newly discovered hip injury, but there should be plenty of concern about the Texans veteran free agent signing.
According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Reed underwent arthroscopic surgery on his already-surgically repaired hip last week. The procedure was needed to repair a labral tear in the hip. Reed is now expected to miss the entire offseason program in an attempt to be recovered by the start of training camp.
“He’ll miss the offseason program, and it’s just something we’ll have to work through,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said. “We’ll get him healthy, and he should be fine.”
On Monday, Texans owner Bob McNair called Reed's surgery "minor" but said that he might not be back until the middle of training camp, per Nick Scurfield of the Texans' official site:
Nick Scurfield @NickScurfield
Bob McNair called Ed Reed's surgery a "minor procedure. He'll be ready once training camp starts, maybe the middle" #Texans5/6/2013, 4:43:48 PM
Houston doesn't open training camp until late July—almost three full months from now. If such a procedure is keeping Reed out for three or more months, it should be considered anything but minor.
The true worry here should come from both Reed's injury history and the timing of the surgery.
Only three short years ago, Reed was rehabbing both a reconstruction of his hip and the repair of his same labrum. Despite a four- to six-month recovery period, according to USA Today, Reed expected to be ready for Week 1 of the 2010 season.
It didn't happen. Reed was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list to start 2010 and missed the first six games.
Three offseasons later, Reed is back under the knife to repair the same hip. Although this surgery does not appear to be anywhere near as serious as the original (no reconstruction), it's a worrisome development for the soon-to-be 35 year old safety. A miraculous comeback from another surgery on the hip probably isn't in the cards for the elder Reed.
The Texans must also be somewhat concerned about the timing of the surgery.
Reed did not have the procedure after the season, which would have allowed maximum recovery time. Either the re-injury occurred in the brief time between when the Texans signed him and now, or Reed knew about the ailment, chose to go through free agency without the surgery and then cashed in on the open market before going under the knife.
Both are plausible scenarios considering the circumstances.
Kubiak didn't sound like it was something the Texans expected or knew much about, per Scurfield:
Nick Scurfield @NickScurfield
Kubiak on Ed Reed (hip): "We didn't expect it, but it started bothering him. That's when we got aggressive in what we needed to do"5/6/2013, 6:21:04 PM
Despite losing Glover Quin in free agency, the Texans do have other options at safety. Shiloh Keo returns after playing in all 16 games last season, and Houston also drafted South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger in the second round of April's draft.
The depth is there, and it might actually benefit the two young players to see extra reps this offseason.
But the Texans are also counting on the veteran Reed to be the difference-maker they have lacked at safety, at least in 2013, and this surgery puts his early availability in serious question.
Reed has a worrisome history with his hip, and while comments from both Kubiak and McNair sounded on the surface to be positive, it's unclear whether the Texans fully knew of the injury pre-signing or if Reed will be back to 100 percent by the start of training camp.
Both scenarios present concern for the Texans. Did they buy damaged goods? And will Reed return in time to stay off the PUP list for a second time?
Houston can't feel comfortable in knowing the answer to either question.