When it felt as though Troy Fumagalli’s football world might collapse, his NFL dreams close enough to see but not to own, the Broncos cub tight end found respite on the couch of a mate.
Check that. A lot of mates.
Want proof of the bond shared between Denver’s 2018 cub class? galore lived in the same flat complex last season, so much as wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, who saw Fumagalli about every day through the course of rigorous injury rehabilitation and aforementioned he “wasn’t really complaining” — even if Fumagalli had legitimate gripes.
The Broncos drafted Fumagalli in the fifth round from Wisconsin in 2018 shortly after he had surgery to repair a sports hernia injury. He was sidelined from cub minicamp and OTAs. Fumagalli finally got on the field in training camp, but lasted just a week before reaggravating his injury. shortly after he was put on injured reserve and his cub season was over before it truly began.
“There are years where you’re hurt that property go up and down,” Fumagalli aforementioned. “You don’t know what’s going to happen.”
He didn’t need to look far for support. Just knock on the front door of a fellow Broncos cub down the hall.
“We’re all going through the same thing living alone and playing in the NFL for the first time,” Fumagalli aforementioned. “It was nice to be able to lean on each other and enjoy each other’s company.”
But enough with the sappy mate talk. The NFL is a results-oriented business, and through a full year with the Broncos, Fumagalli has not made an on-field impact. The clock is ticking, especially with Denver commerce back to select Iowa tight end Noah Fant with the twentieth pick in April’s draft. The depth chart is undecided entering the final week of OTAs at Dove valley. Fumagalli has run with the first-team offense in two-tight end sets, rotating with Jeff Heuerman, Jake Butt and Fant; likewise with the wide receivers group.
But he knows he inevitably to start showing thing. He used the past year to become a film junkie and learn how pro players think and react in addition to relentless physical rehabilitation under strength coach Loren Landow. It’s been more than 16 months since he last played in a game and Fumagalli aforementioned he’s participated in “probably less than 20” full Broncos practices.
Fumagalli’s football future in Denver, on the far side his development in the team’s new offense, hinges on his ability to stay healthy. The former second-team All-American didn’t endure any serious injuries prior to his sports hernia, aforementioned Fumagalli’s college position coach Paddy Turner, but Fumagalli’s risk for continued groin issues is real.
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Christos Photopoulos is a Los Angeles Rams team doctor and orthopedic operational operating surgeon who specializes in sports medicine at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles. Photopoulos encounters sports hernia injuries at his practice on a weekly basis and stressed there is no singular diagnosis or estimated recovery period. The affected area can include soft muscle tissue, ligaments, and bones with some injuries needing only weeks of physical rehabilitation and extended months for others. Soft tissue muscles, so much as the groin, are at a heightened risk for re-injury.
Fumagalli’s 2018 training camp reverse suggests a more severe case. however, Photopoulos aforementioned recent medical research indicates a 95 percentage full-recovery rate from sports hernia injury surgeries overall. It’s the required sprinting, cutting and leap with Fumagalli’s job description that make him vulnerable to more injuries.
“Probably the most important thing is just being very argus-eyed and very conscious of the symptoms that might be presenting,” Photopoulos aforementioned. “If you have a low-level pain that could indicate possibly the very earliest chance of a return, you want to bring that to the attention of the medical staff for your team. unfortunately, if you let it get too severe and sit on the pain and don’t tell anybody about it, then it often becomes a more difficult entity to treat.”
Early returns from OTAs are positive for Fumagalli. At 6-foot-5, 247 pounds, he was a dynamic force at Wisconsin with 1,627 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. Can he start making his mark in Denver?
“I knew Fum coming from the Big Ten. I obviously knew he was a baller. He couldn’t wait to get back out here and get his chance again,” aforementioned Hamilton, who played at Penn State. “We always saw him working in the weight room and the training room. Now that he’s finally back healthy, he’s showing great glimpses.”
Fumagalli scoffs at the notion he’s still a cub in experience and it’s echoic in the mentality he developed through Landow’s program. Fumagalli acknowledgment the support of fellow cubs in those deep couch-side chats for lifting him from moments of doubt. Erasing the memory of his sports hernia took longer than he’d hoped. Consider it all forgotten in OTAs.
“I treat it as if I played the full year,” Fumagalli aforementioned. “Come in and don’t be a cub. Be way ahead of the ball.”