The Associated Press has reported that the Denver Broncos officially placed star linebacker Elvis Dumervil on injured reserve, ensuring that he will miss the entire 2010 season. The injury occurred during a blocking drill in practice August 4. He was later confirmed to have a torn pectoralis tendon in his chest and upper arm. It was hoped by many, including within the Denver Broncos’ organization, that after Dumervil had surgery, he would be able to return toward the end of the season.
Ruptures of the pectoralis major tendon are common injuries in weightlifting. Typically it’s seen during an explosive maneuver, such as a bench press. The weightlifter will notice a tearing sensation and immediate pain, swelling, and bruising. It can also happen, although less commonly, in football. Typically what happens in football is that the player’s arm is out away from his body and another player drives his arm backward, injuring the pectoralis tendon or muscle. Depending on the location of the injury, treatment can either involve surgery or rehabilitation. If the tendon has pulled off the bone, which it probably did in this case, surgery is usually recommended for high-level athletes. Recovery from surgical treatment is very likely, and I expect that he will get back to football at the same level as before the injury, but it will take many months.
Read more about pectoralis major tendon injuries and surgical treatment.