Brett Favre has been told by doctors that pain in his right shoulder is from a torn biceps tendon and some calcification in the area, but the New York Jets quarterback would need nothing more than arthroscopic surgery to repair the injury, sources said.
The sources Tuesday also said the 39-year-old Favre might be able to avoid an arthroscopic procedure altogether if he decides to play a 19th NFL season. While playing with what is described as a partial tear of the biceps tendon, Favre contributed to the late-season Jets collapse with nine interceptions and only two touchdown passes in the final five games.
Favre has been encouraged to take as much time as he needs before determining whether to return to the Jets. According to a source, Favre is expected to deliberate for several weeks, perhaps to allow New York time to hire former coach Eric Mangini's successor. Mangini was fired Monday after three seasons.
Favre had complained about pain and seemed to suffer diminished arm strength late in the season. He indicated he was unwilling to undergo numerous surgeries if they were necessary to keep him playing. The latest medical development -- the tear is located near the acromioclavicular joint, sources said -- suggests Favre can make his decision knowing major surgery is not necessary.
Favre had a similar injury to his left shoulder three years ago while playing for the Packers and avoided surgery. He experienced relief from the pain that time when the tendon finally released and has been told to expect the same this time, according to the source. The purpose of arthroscopic surgery would be to provide relief from pain immediately.
Favre led the league with 22 interceptions, matching his number of touchdown passes. He passed for 3,472 yards, his fewest since 2003. In Favre's last five games, four of them losses, his highest passer rating was 61.4.
Ed Werder covers the NFL for ESPN.