According to an ESPN report from Ed Werder, Brett Favre needs ankle surgery if he's going to play in 2010 and he's debating whether to have it or call it a career. Without casting any direct aspersions, let's just remember to take all of this with a grain of salt. That said, let's also take this time to look at the ESPN report -- assuming all facts are correct -- as an opportunity for both a deconstruction and an estimated timeline (excerpts from the report in italics, our thoughts not).
Favre, who would turn 41 during the 2010 season, told ESPN the ankle injury that he suffered three months ago in the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints continues to be swollen and painful. That prompted tests to determine why healing had not occurred and Favre sent the results of those scans to orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who told the quarterback his opinion that surgery is unavoidable.
Wait, the ankle has been swollen for three months ... and he's just now decided to have it seriously looked at for a surgical option? Red flag, right there. Couldn't this have been settled, like, two months ago?
"We have spoken,'' Favre said in an e-mail. "To play again, I would need the surgery, as I suspected. This decision would be easy if not for my teammates and the fans and the entire Vikings staff. One year truly felt like 10 -- much like Green Bay for many years. That's what I was missing in my heart I suppose, a sense of belonging.'' Favre said he must determine whether his affection for the Vikings and his belief they are capable of winning the Super Bowl overrides his disdain for surgery. Favre would not reveal the exact diagnosis or the prognosis on how long it would take to recover from the surgery.
Red flag number two: that he won't reveal the exact diagnosis or recovery timeline. While we certainly wouldn't doubt that he needs surgery, that piece of it -- combined with the fact that he's waited this long to deal with it -- makes us think surgery/recovery will be timed out as such that Favre won't be able to participate in anything leading up to training camp, and will also likely miss all of the time in Mankato as well -- which is probably what he wanted all along. Now: We don't begrudge him for wanting to miss camp, and we don't even really mind if he does as long as he comes back. It's all just rather humorous.
As such, here is our projected timeline. And remember, these are all just guesses for the fun of it:
Mid-to-late May: Favre decides he is going to have the surgery and schedules it for fairly soon after that. It's not a terribly elaborate process, and recovery is very likely. But we learn at that point the recovery period is anywhere from 6-10 weeks, but that he fully intends to come back for the 2010 season.
Late July: With Vikings camp approaching, Favre's ankle is improving and is nearly healed, but he needs a couple extra weeks of slow recovery and rest to be fully ready for game action. Brad Childress tells Favre there's no hurry, and he stays down in Mississippi.
August 5: There is one more "will he really play?" moment when a story surfaces that Favre's ankle is not healing properly.
Aug. 16: Favre declares himself fit and ready to go, two days after the Vikings' first preseason game against the Rams. He arrives at the MSP airport and after a 7-minute ride with Adrian Peterson (sorry, couldn't resist), he is at the Vikings' training facility in Eden Prairie. He jumps right in and plays one series against Seattle on the 22nd in the Vikings' second preseason game. He makes his Metrodome return on Aug. 28 in the all-important third preseason game and looks fantastic. All is well with the world again.