Seahawk’s Richard Sherman to Avoid Surgery

A little bit of good news for the Seattle Seahawks. Star cornerback Richard Sherman will not undergo surgery to repair an elbow injury- at least for now.

Sherman injured his elbow when he collided with teammate Kam Chancellor during the Jan. 18 NFC Championship game. The Seahawks won against the Green Bay Packers, 28-22 . Despite the injury, he still played in the Super Bowl, although it was obvious to observers that Sherman held his arm tightly to his chest during most of the game.

Coach Pete Carroll had announced last week that Sherman would have to undergo Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. However team physician Dr. James Andrews believes that Sherman can avoid the surgery. He hopes that the injury will heal on its own with proper rehabilitation. Dr Andrews will reexamine Sherman in one month to evaluate his progress.

What is Tommy John Surgery?

elbow_ligamentThe elbow is a joint where three bones come together. Your upper arm contains one long bone called the humerus and your lower arm contains two long bones called the radius and the ulna. The pointy tip of your elbow is actually part of the ulna and this part is called the olecranon. The close part of the radius bone that makes up part of the elbow joint is called the radial head. Three ligaments (sturdy connective tissue bands) help hold the bones together :  the ulnar collateral ligament, radial collateral ligament, and annular ligament. The ulnar collateral ligament ( UCL) is a thick triangular band consisting of two portions, an anterior and posterior united by a thinner intermediate portion.

What is a Tommy John Procedure?


Tommy Johns

A Tommy John procedure is a surgical procedure named after the LA Dodgers pitcher who first underwent the procedure in 1974.

It is used to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament. The procedure is common among collegiate and professional athletes in several sports, most notably baseball. In the procedure, the torn UCL is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body (most often from the forearm, hamstring, knee, or foot of the patient).


Based on long-term studies of athletes over the years, the chances of a complete recovery after surgery are estimated at 85 to 90 percent. Rehabilitation to return to a level of playing equal to before the injury takes about a year for pitchers and about six months for position players.


Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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