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Cade McNown, Quarterback for the Chicago Bears

DIAGNOSIS

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 stretched.

 

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.

PREVENTION

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.

RECOVERY

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.

LONG-TERM OUTLOOK

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.

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