Browns guard Ted Banker is coming back from major reconstructive surgery on his left knee with the help of a dead person. Banker suffered one of the worst knee injuries imaginable when he was hit while trying to make a tackle after an interception in the AFC Championship Game last January. The anterior cruciate ligament was shredded, the medial collateral ligament was completely torn, the posterior cruciate ligament and the patellar tendon were partially torn, cartilage (lateral and medial meniscus) was torn, and the kneecap was severely dislocated.
"I could feel the whole middle of my knee tearing and the side of the knee rip," says Banker. In repairing the anterior cruciate ligament, the surgeon usually replaces the ligament with part of the patellar tendon. Because Banker's patellar tendon also was damaged, team physician Dr. John Bergfeld used the anterior cruciate ligament from a cadaver instead. "I don't know anybody else playing with replacement parts from another body," says Banker, 29, who is called RoboKnee by teammates. He also doesn't know anything about the donor. "Whoever it was, I hope he was fast."