New Player Med Check: Colts NT Josh Chapman

Plenty has been written about the measurables, performance and intangibles of the Colts’ new team members. In this series, though, I will focus on their injury history and prognosis for being ready health-wise for off-season activities.


I chose to start with DT Josh Chapman from Alabama for a few reasons – first, Chapman was not a prospect for whom we completed a draft profile; second, he has had a few notable injuries in his career, one of which he is still rehabilitating.

The first injury of note was an unspecified shoulder injury that resulted in Chapman redshirting his freshman year. The second injury was a torn labrum suffered on November 6, 2010. He finished the season before having surgery to fix it. The one mystery is whether the torn labrum was in his hip or his shoulder, as both areas have a labrum.



The more recent injury was a a torn left ACL suffered on October 1, 2011 against Florida. Chapman opted to continue playing as his team rolled toward a national championship, and delay surgery until January. Some may ask whether Chapman’s recovery would be jeopardized by a 3 1/2 month delay between injury and surgery. In fact a delay is often preferred by doctors to allow the joint to “calm down,” and to allow the patient to build up the quadriceps muscle in advance of surgery and rehab. Of course, part of that approach assumes the patient isn’t playing FOOTBALL, but his knee was said to have been unnaturally stable after the injury and there was likely no further damage he could have done to his ACL by continuing to play.

Unfortunately Chapman did experience increased difficulty with his knee throughout the season, and he “underwent treatment intended to help cartilage grow.”  He eventually went to Dr. James Andrews, the most recognized orthopedic surgeon for athletes, for surgery in January. Recovery is typically expected to be 8-12 months, putting Chapman’s earliest expected availability in September. However, backed up by a letter from Andrews, he indicated at the Combine that he was already ahead of schedule in his rehab, having been pedalling and about to start running as of that time. He believes he’ll be available for training camp, which starts for the Colts around the first of August.

Prognosis: Ready for training camp.  Who am I to argue with renowned orthopedic expert Dr. James Andrews? 

I will put my personal spin on this, though.  Given the turmoil that has befallen the Colts in the last year at the behest of significant injury, I would be cautious in returning Chapman to the field.  As a 5th round pick, and with the Colts not expected to be in playoff contention this year, Chapman should not be under significant pressure to play right away.  I’d rather see him rotated in by mid- to late season after his knee has completely healed.