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One G.M. “waiting for the first ACL tear” at player-organized workouts

Reggie Bush, Joe Zelenka, Ovie Mughelli, Jason Snelling

The Atlanta Falcons defense tries to take down New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush (25) in the first half of an NFL football game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Monday, Dec. 27, 2010. Defending for Atlanta are Joe Zelenka (82), Ovie Mughelli (34) and Jason Snelling (44). (AP Photo/David Goldman)


Scores of NFL players have taken it upon themselves to organize practices on their own to stay in shape and build team chemistry during the lockout, and in general those players have been lauded for their commitment and dedication. But are these workouts really such a good idea?

Don Banks of Sports Illustrated talked to one NFL general manager who thinks it’s just a matter of time before some player comes to seriously regret participating in a lockout workout.

“Quite honestly, I’m waiting for the first ACL tear that happens and then we’ll see if anyone talks about how great this whole workout program is for these young guys,’' the G.M. said.

The general manager said he doesn’t believe the players are going to have the right kind of training and medical staff on hand for their own workouts, which only heightens the risk of injury.

"[A]s soon as a prominent player pops an ACL in some high school gym or at some college, what’s going to be the reaction? If someone breaks a leg, who’s there to help? As a GM, the thing that makes me nervous is the what-ifs that could happen without supervision, specifically from a training standpoint,” he said. “Let someone lose their quarterback for eight months because he slipped and hurt something, be it a Drew Brees, a Tom Brady or a Peyton Manning, then we’ll see how fast these camps continue.’'

An unnamed NFL agent also expressed some worries about the risk of injury.

“People should realize that if players get hurt now, on their own time, that’s a non-football injury and they don’t have to be paid or have their contracts honored after that,’' the agent said. “I tell my guys to work out, but under supervision that is professional and to be careful. They have to stay in shape from a cardiovascular and strength standpoint, but other than that I don’t know how important it is to go out and play touch football.”

So maybe Reggie Bush has the right idea.