Carolina Panthers

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen gives details on surgery, recovery and his future

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen had a successful second surgery on his foot about two weeks ago, after going on injured reserve in Week 15 with a ruptured plantar fascia.

The surgery was not to repair the plantar fascia, which Olsen said will heal (painfully) on its own, but to clean up the Jones fracture repair he had done after the 2017 season in which a screw was put in his foot.

“They took the screw out, cleaned the bone up. I had some stuff going on in there just from the trauma of running around with a fractured bone,” he said Wednesday, as he stood in the locker room with his right leg on a foot-scooter, foot in a brace.

“The big difference was the bone graft this time. That really solidifies that fracture, and then they put a new screw in. So the bone graft is really what makes it strong. Every guy I’ve talked to who has had this second follow-up surgery, you know, you never typically hear of it again.”

The season-ending ruptured plantar fascia Olsen suffered in Week 14 at Tampa Bay stemmed from having to compensate for the re-fracturing of Olsen’s foot, suffered in Week 1 of this season.

It’s the latter that required the second surgery, and not the plantar fascia, he said.

“That’ll just heal, just rest,” he said. “That’s not an issue at all.”

So Olsen will undergo the recovery process again, which he hopes will end his pain and prevent future breaks. He said he didn’t have it the first time around, in 2017, because he didn’t want to lengthen his recovery time and the chance he’d re-fracture it was minimal.

“This one is a little more of the final (option),” he said. “You can’t really come back in (during) the season, so last year when I really wanted to come back as fast as I could, we knew obviously there was a small percentage of guys who have had re-fractures or issues again.

“This time it was the full deal. Typically, every guy I’ve talked to that has had this second followup one kind of fixes it for good.”

Olsen wasn’t totally clear on his timetable for running and ultimately fully activating once again.

But he was clear that he wanted to get back on the field for the Panthers, if they’ll have him. Last spring, Olsen’s contract was extended by the team through 2020.

“I still feel like I can play at a high level,” he said. “Obviously I said that before the season, too, and it didn’t exactly work out. It’s been a frustrating two years, no question about it.

“We have to see. There are a lot of other people who have (a say in that), what they feel my future is here and what other opportunities present themselves. It’s hard to say.

“I still enjoy playing, and I still know I can play. But that decision is not always up to me. ...It’s not a matter of whether I want to or not as much as whether that’s in the cards.”

Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071, @JourdanRodrigue

Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071; @jourdanrodrigue

Jourdan has covered the Carolina Panthers as a beat writer since 2016, and froze during Pennsylvania winters as an award-winning Penn State football beat writer before that. A 2014 graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, she’s on a never-ending quest for trick plays and the stories that give football fans goosebumps.
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