Last season, Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt tore his pectoral muscle in the season opener. He missed seven games and came back to play the final nine games of the season.
A full tear of the muscle would take four to six months, which could allow for Andersen to make it back late in the season (if he beats the timeline) or in the playoffs, which begin Jan. 13.
“It’s unfortunate,” Smith said. “He was obviously playing really good football for us. I’m disappointed. He’s got a really bright future ahead of him.”
Smith is not sure if he’ll get Andersen back.
“There are some variations on it,” Smith said. “Until he has the surgery, you don’t know what the timeline is. I just know that with different variations of it, everybody’s timeline is different.”
Dr. David Chao, of Sports Injury Central, reviewed the video of Andersen’s injury and believes it’s a torn from the right tendon.
“It’s helpful to have time and quarter and go back and look,” Chao told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “Right pec and it does seem to be tendon which means surgery and his season is essentially over. There is a chance he could come back late season, but that would mean the Falcons have to be in contention and maybe even be in the playoffs for it to happen.”
In 2019, Houston’s J.J. Watt suffered a torn pectoral muscle off the tendon on Oct. 27, eight games in to the season. He made it back for the playoffs on Jan. 4. But he was a defensive lineman essentially playing with one arm.
“He wasn’t 100 percent effective,” said Chao, who was the team doctor 17 years for the Chargers. “But for a linebacker you need to wrap (up runners). People would run through his arm tackles…I don’t see how he can continue.
“The distinction here is, I believe by mechanism and video, that it’s his right pec tendon. T.J. Watt was pec muscle last year, which is why he could return with no surgery. That’s the distinction.”
So, the Falcons are being optimistic about making the playoffs if they think Andersen can make it back this season.
“They need to be in the playoffs to open up that possibility,” Chao said. “Look, if it’s Week 17 and (they) make the playoffs, is it impossible? It’s hard at linebacker. I just always try and have a positive spin.”
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