Da'Quan Bowers' slide to the Bucs in the second round of the NFL Draft wasn't the outcome the player hoped for, but Bowers is steadily working toward a return from knee surgery that he hopes will ultimately allow him to become the player many thought he could be.
Bowers' agent, Joe Flanagan, in an interview, addressed a number of issues regarding Bowers' recovery from knee surgery and the procedure's short- and long-term effects. He emphasized, among other things, that Bowers expects to be ready for training camp and there have been no setbacks. He also called into question suggestions that Bowers will encounter serious knee problems down the line.
Because draft picks cannot consult with their new teams on medical care, Bowers is working out at Clemson University under the care of the training staff there, along with other former Clemson players now in the NFL.
Flanagan said he's aware of some of the rumors and assertions made before and since the draft about his client -- they range from suggestions that certain teams never considered him to the possibility that he'll never recover -- but Flanagan said there is nothing to suggest any of it is true.
"I do know what people have said," Flanagan said. "But given the procedure in January, he's way ahead of schedule."
Bowers' rehab plan calls for him to be conservative, but Flanagan said Bowers is doing a great deal of strength training to further stabilize the right knee while doing a lot of basic physical training and conditioning. He said the ultimate timeline for Bowers' return will be determined by the Bucs, but Flangan said there is no reason for concern about the recovery interrupting his rookie season.
"I've always been told that training camp is not going to be an issue," Flanagan said. "But that's Mark Dominik's decision at this point. I do know that Da'Quan is champing at the bit. If anything, we're having to hold him back (from doing too much). He feels great."
There have been reports that Bowers was considered by some teams a "one-contract player" because his knee would not support a long career. Flanagan countered by offering the input from renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, one of the physicians overseeing Bowers' rehab.
"Dr. Andrews said if there were going to be problems (down the road), they'd show up pretty quick," Flanagan said. "He hasn't had any swelling, soreness or pain. He hasn't had to back off at all. He didn't have a good workout on the field (at his pro day) but the fact that he did the workout at all was impressive."
So, given all this, why wasn't Bowers -- a projected top-10 pick before the surgery -- drafted earlier? Flanagan said there are several reasons, including the fact that many decision-makers were afraid to be wrong about a high draft pick, despite the undeniable talent. Along those same lines, Flanagan said some teams' doctors were reluctant to sign off on Bowers for fear that any future problems would jeapordize their jobs with their teams.
"Privately, tons of clubs have said if they could have gotten their medical staffs to okay it, they would have loved to have done it," Flanagan said.
As for the fears associated with Bowers, Flanagan takes heart from the outcomes of some other players who entered the league with medical concerns.
"Willis McGahee wasn't supposed to last," he said. "Thurman Thomas wasn't supposed to play more than a year. It worked out all right for those guys."
Posted by Stephen Holder at 11:08:04 am on May 17, 2011