Palmer to get elbow examined in two weeks

Published 1:50 am Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In about two weeks, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer will know whether he needs reconstructive surgery on his throwing elbow.

Palmer acknowledged on Monday that the ligament and tendon in his right elbow are partially torn from the bone, an injury that doctors are hoping can heal on its own. Palmer has sat out the last six games, spending his time strengthening the elbow.

He’s scheduled to resume throwing on Dec. 7, testing the elbow for a few days to see whether it has healed. If not, he’ll have Tommy John surgery, named after the baseball pitcher who had successful ligament replacement surgery.

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‘‘If the tendon and the ligament doesn’t heal and doesn’t fasten itself back down to the bone, then I’m assuming it’s going to be surgery,’’ Palmer said.

Palmer hurt the elbow when he was hit while throwing a pass during a loss to the Giants in the third game of the season. He sat out one game, then played in a loss at Dallas on Oct. 5 — the last time he has thrown a pass. On doctors’ advice, he has tried to rehabilitate the elbow rather than have surgery immediately.

‘‘It’s never good to have surgery,’’ Palmer said. ‘‘God didn’t create your elbow to be cut open and messed around with on the inside. So I’m trying to avoid surgery. If it comes to it and I have to do it, then I have to do it.’’

Although reconstructive elbow surgery is common in baseball, few quarterbacks have had it. Pitchers typically take about a year to fully recover, although their sport puts more stress on the elbow because of the different throwing motion.

‘‘The only problem is it’s kind of an unknown,’’ Palmer said. ‘‘There haven’t been a lot of guys (in the NFL) that have had it. There’s been very few quarterbacks that have had it.’’