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Jermaine Reid’s long road back

Andrew Bucholtz
55 Yard Line

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Jermaine Reed (centre, hugging Esks' DL coordinator Kit Lathrop in 2011) is set to return.

Football's a violent game with a huge number of injuries, and that means that there are plenty of players who get hurt, fall out of the lineup and never again suit up. Edmonton Eskimos' defensive lineman Jermaine Reid isn't one of those names, though. Reid suffered a tough injury in 2011, tearing the labrum cartilage in his right shoulder, but he battled through it and kept playing. After offseason surgery, Reid has fought his way back to the Eskimos, and although the team's depth chart for Monday's game against Toronto doesn't have him listed, he's coming on strong and could figure in their lineup sooner rather than later. That's remarkable, considering that Reid told Evan Daum of The Edmonton Journal that he didn't even realize he needed surgery until April:

"I knew it was hurting coming to the end of last season, but I didn't know what," Reid said of the torn labrum in his right shoulder. "I found out I partially tore it and ultimately went into the off-season trying to rehab it and trying to get it back.

"It was rough. I couldn't actually get it back to normal on my own, it just wasn't working. I did everything I possibly could and it just wasn't getting better, so I decided to get surgery come late April. It kind of put me out for training camp and the first part of the season."

That's one of the tougher elements of football for players, as there's a fine line between a crippling injury and one you can play through. As Reid told Daum, Edmonton's medical staff was concerned about his health during last season, but he was so determined to keep playing that they couldn't keep him off the field:

It was one of those things where I talked with our trainers about it and they were concerned as well and they asked me if I still could play," Reid said. "Being as stubborn as I am, there was no way that I wasn't going to. I just kind of put the head down and kept fighting through it. At the end of the season I found out what really was wrong.

This situation isn't necessarily the fault of Edmonton's trainers and medical staff. A lot of patient care depends on how your patients react and how honest they are, and football players are notoriously difficult in that regard, as the sport has a massive culture of playing through pain. Thus, this doesn't necessarily mean the Eskimos' doctors misdiagnosed Reid initially. Still, it's problematic that he didn't realize the full extent of his injury until April. At least he's received surgery now, though, and it sounds like he'll be back to full health soon. That could be great news for the Eskimos, as Reid gives them skill and a Canadian passport on the defensive line. It's unfortunate that what was really wrong with him wasn't realized until April, though. Reid will certainly make an impact when he returns to the lineup, but many Edmonton fans may wonder what could have been if he was diagnosed and treated earlier and thus available for their team's earlier games.

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