Cade McNown, Quarterback for the Chicago Bears
Tell-tale signs of shoulder separation are pain, tenderness,
and sometimes, a bulge at the top of the shoulder where the wayward collarbone
has ended up. Doctors sometimes will take X-rays of a patient holding a small
weight, so the separation can be a bit easier to see as the muscles are
On Oct. 24, the Bears announced that McNown didn't injure his
rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is formed by a group of tendons and muscles that
work to hold the shoulder together.
The upper-arm bone is shaped like a ball and is larger than the socket it
fits against. So the shoulder is built to be the most moveable large joint in
the body. And McNown certainly takes full advantage of it as a quarterback,
passing for 290 yards in the Bears' season opener against the Minnesota
Vikings. But the downside of all that mobility is a vulnerability to injury. It
takes a lot of muscles, ligaments, and tendons to hold the shoulder together,
and slamming them into the ground causes pain and loss of the overall
performance of the shoulder. While shoulder pads and using the correct
technique while falling can help, a sudden injury such as McNown's on a turf,
such as this would be very difficult to prevent.
It can take two-three months for a separated shoulder to heal. But doctors
have speculated that McNown should recover in four-six weeks. He already is
making appearances wearing a sling to rest the shoulder.
Chances are, McNown will have more collarbone bulging out above his shoulder
after this injury, but with physical therapy to work on strength and range of
motion, he should snap back from the injury.