As Andy Reid promised earlier in the day, the Eagles made head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder available to talk about Victor Abiamiri's knee surgery late this afternoon. It was evident from the way questions about Abiamiri were handled over the past few weeks that the news wasn't going to be good.
Sure enough, Burkholder disclosed that the 24-year-old defensive end had undergone microfracture surgery on his left knee back in February. That's considered something of a last-chance attempt to recreate knee cartilage, where bone is rubbing on bone. Abiamiri, drafted 57th overall in the second round in 2007, won't be able to run before August, Burkholder said. Chances of him being ready for the start of the season don't look good.
Microfracture surgery tends to be a career-ender for some older athletes. Younger players fare better, but there is no guarantee the procedure will work. It consists of a surgeon drilling holes, creating an injury that the body tries to cover with a cartilage-like substance. That substance might ease the bone-on-bone problem, but often it doesn't last.
"I'll be all right," Abiamiri said. "I'm not too worried about it ... It's a tough process to go through ... The amount of time it takes to heal up is pretty extensive."
Abiamiri said he was injured on a cut block during the Eagles' Oct. 18 loss at Oakland. At the time, the team announced a knee hyperextension, which kept Abiamiri sidelined until the Nov. 15 San Diego game. He then played the remainder of the season, but encountered pain during early offseason workouts and got it checked out. Eventually he ended up with Dr. James Andrews in Alabama, Abiamiri hoping he only needed a cleanout but knowing microfracture surgery was possible.
Burkholder and Abiamiri said the type of blow Abiamiri suffered took what Burkholder called "a divot" out of the cartilage lining his kneecap.
Despite a chiseled physique, Abiamiri seems unable to play for more than a few weeks without sustaining an injury. That has been the story of his 29-game pro career, which has been much less than he and the Eagles expected.
"It's definitely true, but what can you do about it, besides just try to get better and try and get healthy?" he said. "That's all I can do at this particular juncture, you know?"