Drew Brees walks off the field after a career-threatening shoulder injury in 2005. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
When San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees tore the labrum in his right shoulder in a 23-7 loss to the Denver Broncos on Dec. 31, 2005, many thought his career could be in jeopardy.
Famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who performed surgery on Brees a week after that season-ending game, says he could not believe how Brees has not only come back from the injury, but has continued to play at a high level for many years.
Brees, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, signed a 6-year, $60 million deal with the New Orleans Saints in March 2006, and led the team to their first Super Bowl Championship four seasons later.
"One case I do have permission to talk about is Drew Brees, who had the most remarkable comeback that I've ever treated," Andrews said to Vox.com.
All expectations were that he had a career-ending shoulder injury. But he had such a good work ethic, and he so well taken care of by physical therapist Kevin Will, in Birmingham, who worked with him for a solid four months, that some way, some how, he got well. But I have to give him and the therapist all the credit, not me. He was an unbelievable comeback. And he's still playing."
"Usually, the only results I remember are the bad ones. I just think on the players who don't have that kind of comeback," Andrews said.