In the Training Room: Colts Kick Returner Devin Moore

Devin Moore returns a kick against the New York Giants. (Andy Lyons | Getty Images)

Devin Moore was placed on injured reserve after suffering a brachial plexus injury during his second kickoff return of the Week 4 game at Jacksonville on October 3.  In the Training Room explores the likelihood that Moore can return to duty in 2011. The brachial plexus is a nerve bundle that sends signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand.  An injury to the area can be caused in a few different ways – one is falling such that the neck is moved too far laterally (to the side) from the shoulder. The other is when the arm is suddenly pulled upon when already extended (the example given in Wikipedia is grabbing a tree branch as you are falling). Another possibility is that the nerves were damaged trying to relocate a dislocated shoulder.  It is most likely that as he tried to reach for more yards, Moore had his arm extended and it got caught under the pile while tacklers converged.

The symptoms associated with this injury are numbness, tingling, and/or weakness in the affected arm.  As with most injuries, its severity will dictate his recovery and possible return.  The “mildest” of brachial plexus injuries, known as neuropraxia, usually heals spontaneously in a manner of minutes.  But Moore was placed on IR the second day after the game, indicating that the damage was worse.  The question is – how much worse? If Moore’s symptoms were not relieved in the day or two following the game, it is reasonable to assume that the nerve was partially or fully severed.  With damage that serious, it is further reasonable to assume that Moore would have to undergo surgery to have any chance of returning to full or even near-full function.  Curiously, no surgery has been reported.  This could mean one of a few things: 1. Moore had surgery but nobody has bothered to report it, 2. the nerve was not severed but the time-line for recovery was too uncertain and the team needed to retain someone else for the kick return role, or 3. even with surgery, Moore is unlikely to return to NFL shape so he is postponing until it is clear surgery is required.

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