Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen made a heroic return from a serious knee injury in 2022. More than a year later, he is unable to play.
As noted by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Jensen did not have surgery after tearing three knee ligaments during training camp in 2022. Instead, Jensen received "stem cell treatments from the umbilical cords of babies born by cesarean section in Antigua." (That sounds more like a magic mushroom-fueled Mad Libs than a medical procedure.)
The non-surgical option allowed Jensen to play last year. It apparently has not allowed him to continue his career.
Everything about Jensen's injury has been covered in a vague layer of secrecy from the get go. They never really said wait it was, citing swelling in the knee. They never said he opted for a decidedly non-traditional treatment regimen. And given that the non-traditional treatment regimen apparently was non-traditional for a reason, it's hard not to wonder whether certain forces within the 2022 Buccaneers were pushing Jensen to do whatever he had to do to be able to play at some point during the regular season or postseason, without regard to what it might mean for 2023.
Assuming he'll be released in the offseason, Jensen will end up getting $26.5 million for one game. But don't blame him for that. It's one of the benefits of playing well enough to secure security against a major injury.
Still, it's hard not to wonder whether Jensen would have been ready to go in 2023 if he had just shut it down for 2022 and gotten surgery. In the end, the team apparently was on board with the approach, so they can't fairly be upset with Jensen about it now.