One of the break-out players in Monday night’s game against the Texans was Clint Session, who had eight tackles, a pass defensed, and a ribcage rattling sack on Houston QB Matt Schaub that I honestly thought would send Schaub to the bench. Eight minutes into the 2nd quarter, Session stood in front of a rushing Andre Johnson, who juked just enough that Session’s arm was caught awkwardly in the tackle. The result was a dislocated elbow and fractured forearm. In the Training Room takes a look at the injury and whether there is hope that Session can return this season.
The first injury is the dislocation. According to Will Carroll’s Guide to Sports Injuries, an elbow is dislocated when the bones of the forearm are out of place relative to the bone of the upper arm. For an athlete this typically occurs when they brace themselves for a fall against their outstretched arm. A “simple” dislocation (one that is not accompanied by another injury, such as a fracture) requires medical attention to manipulate the bones back into place. The elbow must then be placed in a splint and mobility limited for three weeks, with rehab requiring another 1-3 weeks (for a non-throwing athlete like Session). The second injury is the fractured forearm. Although the team has not indicated which of the two bones in the forearm was fractured, it is not uncommon for both to be broken when someone lands the way Session did. Depending on the severity of the fracture, the arm may be placed in a cast or surgery may be required. While it seems clear that Session did not have a compound fracture (no bone pierced the skin), it is unknown how extensive the damage is. A broken bone requires 8 weeks to heal (at least 6 in a cast), followed by 2-3 weeks of rehabilitation to regain strength and mobility. Assessment: Usually I fall on the pessimistic side when it comes to injuries. However in Session’s case, I am encouraged by a few signs: 1) he returned to play the entire second half after the injury and racked up 4 tackles; 2) he appeared in an extended spot on Huddle Up Indy (a local sports show) 2 days after the game; and 3) while rumors are swirling, nothing specific seems to have been decided yet. Session also seems to remain upbeat, not even counting himself out of Sunday’s game against the Eagles despite sporting a large brace and not practicing yet this week. Because Session doesn’t need to have the fine motor skills that would be compromised by a cast, I would not be surprised to see Session held out for 3-4 weeks while his elbow heals, then return to play with a cast on his arm.