Dr. M: Making sense of Manning's neck injury

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Dr. M: Making sense of Manning's neck injury

By Dr. Neil Minkoff
Special to CSNNE.com

What's up with Peyton Manning? The reports out of Indy are pretty confusing.

It looks like he's had at least two neck surgeries in under two years. His latest rehab isn't going well. He has muscular issues from a crushed nerve and lingering back and neck pain. He may need another procedure.

Confused? Me, too and I'm a doctor.

So I called Dr. David Dibenedetto. Dr. Dibenedetto is the Medical Director of Boston PainCare, a leading clinic for patients with pain issues. He's a specialist in back pain and all-around smart guy. He spends every day evaluating and treating spine problems. So let's let him explain it to us.

"Manning has some spinal arthritis, almost certainly due to the violence of the game he plays. The trauma has led to bone spurs in his neck that push on his nerves where they emerge from his spine. This causes pain, numbess and weakness, mostly in the arms.

"We've gotten used to the idea that surgery can fix everything, when it can't. Seeing a player like Wes Welker return in months from what used to be a career-threatening injury and then perform at a high level reinforces this belief. Unfortunately, surgery to correct spinal disease is more risky. The prospect of a patient getting back to normal is uncertain."

Dr. Dibenedetto added, "Most patients who eventually have surgery to 'fix' their spine problems continue to have some symptoms. Some experience chronic pain, while others have numbness or weakness. In the average patient these symptoms are pretty minor, but for a professional athlete, minor things mean the difference between being able to perform and being side lined."

He also pointed out that there really isn't any good way to tell from the material that's been made public what the future holds for Manning. We'll just have to wait and see. Manning probably has to wait and see, too.

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

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Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room. 

"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."

Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.

During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday. 

As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

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PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court. 

After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of MMQB.com on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

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