The New York Jets and left guard Kelechi Osemele are at odds over how to handle his shoulder injury, multiple sources reported Friday.
Osemele, 30, hasn’t played since Week 3 due to a number of ailments. He first had a knee issue and was sick. Then, Osemele alleged he re-aggravated a shoulder injury in practice Oct. 2 after initially hurting it in training camp, and has not practiced since.
But according to The Athletic’s Connor Hughes, after putting him through a series of MRIs, Jets doctors found “overwhelming evidence” that the shoulder injury was a pre-existing condition from his time with the Oakland Raiders. The team’s doctors cleared him to return to practice and told him surgery could wait until the offseason, but Osemele reportedly “refused” and requested a second opinion.
The second specialist allegedly gave him the same opinion, but Osemele told the team earlier this week that he would be undergoing surgery. He was informed Friday that he would be fined if he got surgery and did not participate in practice Saturday, according to The Athletic.
“I think they just want me to play through the injury, but obviously I tried to go and I can’t go,” Osemele said Friday, according to NJ.com. “I’ve been doing everything I can and it’s just not there. I can’t control that. It’s an injury. It’s torn. So until it’s fixed, I can’t really do anything.”
Andrew Kessler, Osemele’s agent, told The Athletic that there is no confusion over the injury Osemele has — a torn labrum. The question at hand is over the timing of surgery, which the second doctor apparently said depends on Osemele’s pain level.
The Jets reportedly provided Osemele with pain medication before his starts earlier this year, but it was not sufficient, which is why he wants surgery.
Another report suggests that the team is making a concerted effort to delay Osemele’s diagnosis. Bleacher Report’s Adam Lefkoe tweeted that the team has been “sending blank and incorrect MRI images to doctors,” and “refusing to release workers comp forms,” which are serious accusations against the organization in a situation that’s looking increasingly messy.
Jets OL Kelechi Osemele has been told by two doctors that he needs shoulder surgery, per source.
The source says the Jets have been attempting to delay surgery by sending blank and incorrect MRI images to doctors...even going as far as refusing to release workers comp forms.
— Adam Lefkoe (@AdamLefkoe) October 18, 2019
The Jets acquired the former Pro Bowler Osemele and a sixth-round pick from the Raiders in March in exchange for a fifth-round pick. He has not performed up to expectations so far this season, however, and the team was reportedly already considering benching him before the current situation arose.
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