Specialist tells Strahan he won't need surgery

Updated: December 29, 2006, 5:39 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Appearing on his weekly spot on a New York radio station, New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan said Thursday he will not require surgery to repair his damaged right foot, but acknowledged that he might have considered retirement had a Charlotte, N.C., specialist told him he needed an operation.

Just two days after his 2006 season prematurely ended with a move to the injured reserve list, the Giants' franchise sack leader visited Thursday morning with Charlotte orthopedist Dr. Robert Anderson for a second opinion on his injured right foot.

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Anderson confirmed that Strahan is suffering from a Lisfranc sprain, but apprised the defensive end that, while the ligaments in his right foot are torn, they are not displaced. That means no surgery -- and the eight-month rehabilitation period that would have accompanied it -- will be necessary.

Strahan said he will return for the 2007 season. Asked if retirement might have been an option if the foot injury had required surgery, Strahan said: "That would have been a decision I'd have to make."

Some New York officials expected that Strahan would require surgery to repair the Lisfranc sprain he sustained on Nov. 5. And if surgery was indicated, the long and grueling rehabilitation would have put into question Strahan's availability at the beginning of training camp next July.

Strahan turned 35 last month, and his age might have been working against him in the kind of strenuous rehabilitation regimen required of Lisfranc patients.

Anderson is the team orthopedist for the Carolina Panthers but, in recent years, has become arguably the country's leading expert on Lisfranc injuries. The injury is actually a mid-foot sprain, but recovery from it can be particularly dicey, and some players have required a year to fully rehabilitate.

Some felt that Strahan was advised shortly after the injury that he would eventually require surgery, but that he delayed the procedure so that he could return to the field for the playoff stretch run. The 14-year veteran appeared in only one game after the injury, however, last Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints, and could not finish the contest.

Strahan has appeared in 200 games, but only nine this season, and has 794 tackles, 132½ sacks, 21 forced fumbles, 14 recoveries, four interceptions and 30 passes defensed. The seven-time Pro Bowl performer has notched double-digit sacks in six seasons and in 2001 set the NFL record with 22½ sacks.

He had only three sacks in 2006, his lowest total since his 1993 rookie campaign, when he had one.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.

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