Buccaneers strongside linebacker Quincy Black has not yet recovered from nerve damage to his neck and shoulder from a big collision with Chargers running back Ryan Mathews, and the organization is concerned that it may be a career-ending injury.
When Buccaneers strongside linebacker Quincy Black slammed into Chargers running back Ryan Mathews during a tackle for loss in Tampa Bay's 34-24 win over San Diego in Week 10 the crowd at Raymond James Stadium roared with approval. However, as Black lay motionless on the field moments later, a hush fell over the crowd and the stadium was full of grave concern as the Bucs medical staff strapped him to a backboard and carted him off the field.
Black would be rushed to a nearby hospital for evaluation, and even though he did not suffer broken vertebrae in his neck or back, test results would reveal nerve damage in his neck and shoulder region that would prompt the team to place him on injured reserve. Black would undergo surgery in an attempt to repair some of the nerve damage and will likely require an additional surgery to stimulate the healing of the damaged nerves.
When asked for an update on his condition during Greg Schiano's season-ending press conference on Monday, the Buccaneers head coach didn't sound overly optimistic that Black would be on the mend soon. Some within the organization are concerned that Black's injury may be career-ending.
“Quincy Black right now, they are still not sure what they are going
to do medically,” Schiano said. “He has been all over – he has been all over the country
to the finest people there are. So I am not sure what is going to
PewterReport.com has learned that Black has nerve damage similar to what Bucs cornerback E.J. Biggers had in 2009 and what prompted the team to officially end his rookie year prematurely on injured reserve during the preseason. Biggers took eight months to recover from the injury as it takes a long time for nerves to heal. It took the months just to be able to raise his arm above his shoulder.
While Biggers successfully rebounded from his nerve damage, Black's injury is thought to be more severe and he was seen on the Bucs sidelines at Raymond James Stadium in Week 14 against Philadelphia with his shoulder still in a sling five weeks after hurting it against San Diego on November 11.
Black, the Bucs' third-round draft pick in 2007, was having a very solid year prior to his injury with team officials suggesting he was playing his best football. Through the San Diego game, Black had posted 32 tackles (25 solo), three tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.
Black's best year statistically came in 2010 when he notched 88 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Last season, Black missed some time due to an ankle injury but finished with 75 tackles, eight tackles for loss, one interception and two forced fumbles.
Black was signed to a five-year, $29 million contract in 2011 that
some have suggested is too rich for his production. He is scheduled to make
$5.75 million in 2013, including a $250,000 workout bonus this
offseason. Black was a candidate to restructure his deal – and perhaps take a pay cut – to help the
Buccaneers clear some cap room in 2013, but his serious injury has
changed everything and the team must wait to see what his long-term
prognosis before knowing how to proceed.
Faced with the prospects that Black may not play football again if he cannot recover from his injury, his Buccaneers teammates are concerned.
“It’s scary,” said Bucs defensive end Michael Bennett. “What everybody doesn’t realize is that it’s a game at the end of the day. He has a life after this and he has a wife and kids that he has to pick up one day and he doesn’t want to have to tell them that the game was taken from him. I hope he gets better. Knowing Quincy he’s going to find some way to persevere through this.”
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