What do Jeremy Shockey, Jammal Brown, Will Smith and Jabari Greer have in common?
They've all been significantly affected by a "groin injury" that turned out to be a sports hernia. A painful, lingering, maddeningly slow to heal injury that requires surgery and mounds of patience.
Greer had surgery earlier this week on Tuesday in Philadelphia to put a protective mesh on the herniated tissue. The mesh, a common treatment for such injuries to people in all walks of life, helps to prevent the worsening of the condition, but healing is still slow.
Smith played through a sports hernia in 2008, turning in a subpar performance and losing a measure of respect and reputation. He's earned back some of that high regard this year with 10 sacks, three forced fumbles, and an interception through 12 games. Smith has recovered from the injury after offseason surgery.
Shockey missed three games last year and was then limited in his first season as a Saint. Now healthy, he's clearly a better player.
Brown missed training camp with the sports hernia, had surgery, and then was lost for the season with hip surgery and rehab.
The Saints hope Greer will be healthy in time for the playoffs, but realistically, the very high level of play Greer has put up so far has been lost for the season. There is a high chance that Greer will not be 100% healthy until the 2010.
Greer is one of many injuries at the cornerback spot this season. Fellow starter Tracy Porter has been missing time with an MCL sprain. Reserve Leigh Torrence was lost for the season with a shoulder injury. Nickelback Randall Gay has been out with a hamstring injury.
Rookie Malcolm Jenkins is the only healthy cornerback the Saints started the season with. Free safety Usama Young was moved from cornerback this past offseason but has been playing both positions this season. Mid-season additions Mike McKenzie, the former Saint, and Marcus McCauley, who has yet to play, round out the depth chart.