Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 9 due to his knee injury, which required a midseason scope. It has now been revealed Burfict recently underwent microfracture surgery to repair his knee.
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Lewis Comments on Burfict's Progress
Thursday, Feb. 19
Around the NFL captured comments from Bengals coach Marvin Lewis on Vontaze Burfict's recovery:
Burfict Had Microfracture Surgery
Monday, Jan. 26
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com provided a statement from Burfict's surgeon, and member of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic Board of Directors, Dr. Neal ElAttrache:
I don't see any reason, if this thing heals like we want and we think it will, why he won't be back like he was. Microfracture has a bad connotation, but there are plenty of guys who have come back and been able to play like before. But it's not really news when it works out.
The goal for him is to be full-go in July. If he's ready for minicamp, it's a bonus.
On Jan. 21, Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com noted Burfict underwent surgery and provided a statement from Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis discussing Burfict's recovery:
Lewis also confirmed that Pro Bowl WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict has had knee surgery and while there has been some concern he might have to start the season on the physically unable to perform list and miss the first six weeks, Lewis said the plan is he’ll be back for the season.
But he has made it clear to Burfict, a college free agent, there is much to be done.
'He has to work his tail off. He has to work harder now than he did to get here,' Lewis said. 'Everyone in his inner circle has continued to reinforce that. He has to work harder now than he did to get here.'
Asked if Burfict’s timetable allows him to start the season Lewis said, 'That’s the plan. You can’t be rushed. It has to heal. It has to get right.'
Burfict dealt with injuries all season. Despite playing in all 16 games of his first two seasons in the NFL, the linebacker suffered a concussion in Week 1. Although he was cleared by Week 2, he suffered another concussion and was forced to miss the next three games.
After returning from his concussion, Burfict suffered a neck injury in Week 7, which Lewis described as a “cervical strain.” While Burfict was not able to return to the game, he still played the following week.
Burfict finally underwent the knee scope for the injury suffered during Week 9. He was ultimately unable to return thereafter.
The Bengals lost to the Colts in the AFC Wild Card Round of the 2014-15 playoffs. The team is clearly on the right track to success but will certainly need Burfict on the field and healthy for the 2015-16 season if the team hopes to advance further in the playoffs.
Burfict has proven to be one of the better linebackers in the league when healthy but also an emotional leader for the Bengals. In that regard, his ability to excite his teammates is just another reason the team will need him healthy for next season.
*Stats via NFL.com.