David Chao, MD: Gerald McCoy Will Not Play in 2020 With Quad Tear

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The Dallas Cowboys defensive line took a serious blow with the start of padded practices. Gerald McCoy was announced to have torn his quad tendon.

This means surgery. No question.
It also means that he is out for the year with no chance to return no matter how long of a playoff run the Cowboys go on. No question.

This injury is part of what can be considered an acclimation to football injury. It is a an injury which teams are worried about every year but certainly more so this season given the pandemic.

Every year, more tendon tears, ligament tears and muscle injuries happen in the early parts of a season than once play begins. This year is likely to be no different, and could even be worse with the lack of offseason program.

This is why the NFLPA didn’t want preseason games but there is no way to avoid practice. Remember, the NFL did enact a graduated return to practice program where pads were just put on for the first time despite reporting on July 28th.

Some early worry was for ACL tear and that was feared as season ending bad news. The confirmation of quad is just as bad if not worse. McCoy will need surgery and not only is there no chance for this season, it is not a guarantee that he will be ready for next season. 

The quad tendon attaches to the top of the patella and is responsible for the majority of ones power to run, jump and take on blocks as one actively extends the knee. This major tendon with four major muscles attached to it requires extensive rehab that often takes longer and is harder than an ACL surgery. The quad is the major muscle involved in squatting and a defensive lineman has to support his own weight and ofter the weight of two offensive linemen blocking him.

McCoy is a six-time Pro Bowler, and was also a three time First-Team All-Pro at defensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 32-year-old signed a three-year deal worth just north of $18M in March. It is the second blow to the front seven this offseason as McCoy was expected to start at defensive tackle next to another free agent signee, Dontari Poe. Poe is already on the PUP list with a quad injury himself.

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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  1. Hey Doctor Chao,
    Good information about what things keep NFL trainers up at night…and the physiology of it all.
    No preseason is a very big part of getting into game shape, as you point out. Two interior D-linemen in their prime and now both out for the year. Big impact…those guys were their studs inside!

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