NFL: Delhomme to test arm tonight
By Mike Cranston
CHARLOTTE ó Jake Delhomme couldn’t get through simple tasks such as washing his face and brushing his teeth without shooting pain in his right elbow. When he went to bed, he had to make sure to keep his arm straight so he could sleep comfortably.
Cortisone shots became welcomed relief during the season, and the Carolina Panthers quarterback knew it was getting worse.
Now, less than a year after he felt his elbow pop after completing a short pass, a pain-free Delhomme and his new elbow return to the field for tonight’s preseason opener against Indianapolis.
“I have no apprehension at all,” insisted Delhomme, who underwent months of grueling rehabilitation following ligament-replacement surgery. “I don’t know if I’m being naive, but I don’t feel that way.”
The carefree attitude stems from the smooth recovery after doctors removed the shredded ligament in the elbow of his throwing arm and replaced it with a tendon from his left thigh. Known as Tommy John surgery, the procedure is more commonly performed on baseball pitchers.
After also getting a bone spur removed and a muscle tear repaired, Delhomme rested the elbow for three months. He started throwing a Nerf ball in February, then graduated to a heavier ball and finally a regulation ball.
He slowly increased the number of throws and the distance, but the team remained cautious. Delhomme only threw on the side during May’s minicamp.
Delhomme practiced in team drills during optional workouts in June, and was cleared for the start of training camp. While he’s been limited to one practice a day, many teammates have said his arm appears stronger than ever.
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