Dr. Gary Losse, the orthopedist who performed a 2�-hour operation on Charger Kellen Winslow's right knee after it was damaged in a game with the Raiders on Oct. 21, says that it's a "very, very severe injury." Losse is a former University of Wisconsin quarterback who has undergone six knee operations himself. "I had a poor offensive line," he says.
Of Winslow's knee, Losse says, "The ligaments had almost an explosionlike appearance.... like spaghetti...mop ends."
The injury occurred as Winslow caught a pass from quarterback Dan Fouts, planted his right foot and was hit by Raider linebacker Jeff Barnes. The impact blew out the posterior cruciate ligament, which runs up the back of the knee. Winslow then twisted his right leg, severing the medial collateral ligament.
Winslow, who will be sidelined for at least six months, is expected to regain full mobility in the knee, according to Losse. Winslow has already begun rehabilitation, using a Continuous Passive Motion machine and leg exercises. He says he'll be running by training camp next July. The five-year, $3,175 million contract Winslow signed six weeks ago is fully guaranteed in the event of a career-ending injury.
Privately, he is scared. When he was released from Sharp Memorial Hospital on Oct. 24, one of his first calls was to Packer wide receiver John Jefferson, his former Charger teammate. "I've never known this much pain," he told Jefferson. Jefferson assured him that medication would mask the pain.
"J.J.," the 27-year-old Winslow said, "I'm not going to know for a year whether I'll ever play again."
"I didn't know what to say," Jefferson said later. "All I could tell him was not to worry, that it was a year away, and that worrying for a whole year would kill him."