David Chao, MD: Early Optimism On Titans’ DuPree Not Realistic

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A well-known saying is numbers don’t lie but people can. In the same vein, videos don’t lie but the way they are interpreted can be quite different. Is the optimism after Bud Dupree workout posts justified?

No question Dupree is a supreme athlete and progressing well after ACL surgery. No question the Titans have enough confidence in his return to sign him to a 5-year, $82.5 million deal. No question to the lay person, Dupree looks great in his workout video.

However, medical analysis should temper the current optimism.

Dupree is coming along nicely but appears a long way away still and he is clearly nowhere near fully healthy yet. He clearly favors his right knee and without going back to looking at published reports, that is clearly the side of injury.

In the squat jump video, he favors the right side and does not stand, squat, jump or land symmetrically. The left takes more load. In the brief cone drill, he favors the right side as well, especially at the end of the sprint. The findings are subtle and likely invisible to the average fan but having worked on the team side and with professional athletes it s clear to me.

With editing and selection, short clips like this can’t prove health (who would show a “bad” workout video). However, they can reveal deficiencies.

Last month, an Odell Beckham Jr. workout video had fans excited, but I chimed in that he had a ways to go. OBJ himself responded to me on Twitter and agreed with the assessment that cutting and deceleration were the key and he was not there yet.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that Dupree is recovering poorly or that the Titans shouldn’t have signed him. In fact, I think he will make a full recovery. My only point is that it is asking too much to expect him to be 100% for the start of this season. With the video and the timing of a December injury/surgery, there is no way he will be his dominant self for Week 1. In fact, he may start camp on PUP.

Titans fans should not worry. He will round into form. The big investment should pay off. The team has a history of looking long term. When Jeffery Simmons fell in the draft after his Spring ACL tear, the Titans still drafted him and waited for him to be healthy and he has paid dividends late that first year and beyond.

Perhaps the team can play Dupree selectively on the left side to start the season and use his healthy leg to get around the edge. It is harder for defensive players who have to react to return to full form. My belief is he will be back but the early optimism is probably not realistic.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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