Moments before Doug Whaley’s press conference on Monday, Tim Graham of The Buffalo News sent out this tweet regarding Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins:
I'm told Bills WR Sammy Watkins will have another foot surgery this week.— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) January 2, 2017
Having another surgery is obviously worse than not having surgery, but it’s not a major surprise. In fact, it’s somewhat customary and doesn’t necessarily signify time off the field in 2017 or a dip in future production for Watkins.
The medical consensus was that he couldn’t do anymore structural damage to his foot while on the field this past season, and whether or not he played came down to a pain-tolerance (and conditioning) issue.
Almost a year ago to the day, Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant had a second surgery on his foot after breaking a bone in it during the 2015 season opener. He had his first surgery soon thereafter.
Bryant did limited individual work during Dallas’ offseason program but ultimately made a full recovery and avoided the active/PUP list at the start of Cowboys’ training camp last July.
Bryant’s timetable is very similar to Watkins’.
Julian Edelman, who initially broke his foot in November of 2015 but returned for the playoffs, had his second foot surgery in May of 2016. Despite reports that he’d be ready nearly three months later for the start of training camp, Edelman was placed on the active/PUP list on July 25. He was activated from that list on August 7.
Two days later, during a joint practice, he suffered a “lower left leg” injury, which was the leg on which he had both surgeries. It was later reported the injury was “just a scare.”
Before Week 5’s game against the Browns, Edelman was placed on the injury report with a foot injury. He was listed with that foot injury on every injury report until December 8. Edelman played in all 16 games for the Patriots this year and had 1,106 receiving yards, a career high.
The Bills would’ve loved for Watkins’ foot to be fully healed right now. But although it’s likely he won’t participate in OTAs and minicamps this spring, what occurred with Bryant and Edelman indicate Watkins will be ready, at the very latest, for the start of the 2017 regular season 100 percent healthy.