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The hope going into the offseason and spring was that Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard wouldn’t need surgery on a sports hernia. Last week, the decision was made to go ahead with surgery.
Beathard, a second-team all-Big Ten quarterback in his first season as starter, had sports hernia surgery, a source confirmed Monday. Beathard, who threw for 2,809 yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions during Iowa’s 12-2 season, had his surgery performed by Dr. William C. Meyers in Philadelphia, Pa. Meyers is nationally recognized as a pioneer in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of core muscle injuries.
The surgery was termed “very successful.” Rehabilitation time was put in the neighborhood of six weeks, which probably leaves Beathard’s status for spring practice up in the air at the very least.
HawkeyeReport.com first reported Beathard’s surgery. An Iowa spokesman said head coach Kirk Ferentz would possibly address this next week during the signing day news conference.
In Iowa’s first two games last season, the senior from Franklin, Tenn., rushed 18 times for 103 yards in Iowa’s first two games, which included a 10-carry, 77-yard performance in a victory over Iowa State in week 2. Then in week 3, Beathard took a shot to the hip on an eight-yard TD run against Pitt. With the help of some significant stretching sessions, he returned to the game and rushed three times for 27 yards to set up Marshall Koehn’s game-winning 57-yard field goal on the game’s final play for a 27-24 victory.
Three weeks later, Beathard’s play was clearly affected against Illinois, generating just six yards total offense in the second half. The next week at Northwestern, Beathard played despite taking the bare minimum of snaps in practice.
“I felt a little bit slower,” Beathard said of the Northwestern game. “It was hard to run and do some stuff that I’m comfortable doing. It’s kind of frustrating. When I need to make play, I’m still going to make plays, it just might be a little slower than normal. There are certain things that bother it, but running and, sometimes, dropping back. Different things hit it a little bit differently and it feels a little bit different.”
And on the battle with the groin went. It seemed to relent for a two-game stretch in early November, when Beathard rushed for 88 yards and three TDs against Indiana and Minnesota, but his elusiveness was limited in the final four games when he was held to minus-31 yards, including the 10 sacks Iowa allowed in the Big Ten championship game and Rose Bowl.
After rushing for 142 yards on 26 carries in Iowa’s first three games, Beathard fought the groin injury and finished with 95 yards in Iowa’s final 11 games.
“That’s why we’re excited to see him healthy,” Ferentz said during an end-of-the-season news conference on Jan. 7. “He was still able to throw the ball fine, but mobility is such a big thing in football. When I was in the NFL, I was around some really good football players who ran out of gas. When your lower body starts to go, it’s not a good thing. Experience and expertise can only make up for so much of that.
“He was a little bit limited that way. I think all of us are excited to see what he can do when he’s fully healthy. Hopefully, we’ll get there and stay there. I know we’re going to get there, but the key is staying there.”
That’s the thought behind surgery. Meyers has performed more than 18,000 core muscle repair procedures in the past 25 years and his patient list reads like a who’s who of professional athletes, including Donovan McNabb, Adrian Peterson and Miguel Cabrera.
Most commonly in core muscle injuries, the rectus abdominus or adductor muscles are pulled off the pubic bone, which causes the athlete pain. Often, these injuries are repaired by placing a cone of mesh into the tear to essentially “plug” the hole formed in the muscle. According to this Philly.com post, Meyers performs an open procedure in which he exposes the muscle tear and then surgically reattaches the muscle to the pubic bone.
Beathard, who was courtside with fellow UI students on Sunday for Iowa’s victory over Purdue, faces six weeks of rehabilitation. According to the Philly.com post, in the 25 years Meyers has been performing these surgeries, he has reported a 95 to 96 percent success rate.
“We measure the success rate by the number of patients who can return to their previous performance level or above following the surgery,” Meyers told the website. “Most of the time, that 4 or 5 percent get better but they don’t make a full return because other problems, like those in the hip, start to creep in.”
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