A Little Clarity On The Mike Patterson Situation

BETHLEHEM — A couple things to clear up surrounding the Mike Patterson situation.

I have heard the latest news referred to as a “setback,” but that’s not entirely accurate. The healing in the brain is not the issue. Instead, it’s the bone graft on his cranium that still needs some time to heal. The estimated time for recovery is six months, but it can obviously take longer. According to his agent, J.R. Rickert, Patterson will still participate in conditioning exercises but won’t take part in any contact drills during training camp.

The news came down on Friday, as Dr. Robert Spetzler made it known that he wasn’t comfortable clearing Patterson. By the sounds of it, they are being very cautious. Rickert, who has been in communication with the doctors, said that the only risk of Patterson returning to action is if he lost his helmet on the playing field and sustained a direct hit on the area of the head where the bone graft took place.

“He would be cleared in any other sport,” said Rickert.

The smart move is to be conservative. This is a 28-year-old who has a lot of years ahead of him. Football is secondary.

As far as timing for his return, this sounds like a situation that could creep into the regular season. There is legitimate optimism coming from his camp that he will be back on the field at some point this year but the Eagles will have to move ahead for now as if he won’t be available early on. Fortunately for them, they have some depth along the defensive front.

“We’re just going to have to play it by ear, to tell you the truth,” said Patterson, “because we have to wait for the doctors to say [something]. Hopefully something happens sooner than later.”

Patterson added that the news “kinda threw me off because I thought I could be ready right now and be able to practice. [The doctor] looked at it and just felt more comfortable if I wait a little longer.”

You can follow Tim McManus on Twitter and email him at tmcmanus@phillymag.com.