There's breaking news for Denver Broncos fans as Pro Bowl tackle, and immensely talented player, Ryan Clady has reportedly torn his patellar tendon playing basketball and could be out for the season.
While team sources have yet to confirm this, the news was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter. Schefter has gained a reputation as Mr. Reliability when reporting on anything NFL.
While any injury to Clady is bad news for the Denver Broncos, it is likely (based on initial reports) that he will only be out for camp and maybe a bit of preseason. Schefter initially said that he expects Clady to be sidelined for the next three months.
This news could turn very bad if Clady ends up having to miss any regular season time, as he is clearly the strongest link in the Denver Broncos offensive line. The team is planning on starting at least one rookie next year.
Clady played his college football at Boise State and was selected by the Broncos with the 12th pick in the 2008 NFL draft. He started immediately and went for substantially more than a season without allowing a single full-sack.
He is considered by many to be among the NFL's best left tackles with an extremely bright future after being named to the Pro Bowl in only his second season.
In an offense that has seen many changes recently, this can be described as an unnecessary or foolish blow at best.
Clady does not have a replacement on the Broncos roster who could come close to performing to his ability. His back-up would likely be starting right tackle Ryan Harris.
It isn't known what kind of lingering effects he might have from this injury, but this article will be updated when there is more to report.
As promised, it seems that the news might in fact be far worse. There has been some serious speculation that three months is a massive underestimate of the amount of time it takes for this type of injury to heal.
Bill Barnwell at Football Outsiders checked the history on players with similar injuries and every single one, with the exception of Seattle Seahawks center Robbie Tobeck in 2000, missed the entire season. Tobeck's injury occurred in May and he managed to return for the final four games.
If that is the case, expect team sources to hide the severity of the injury, but I would conclude that Clady will likely not play in the 2010 NFL season.