NFL Physician Shares Encouraging Opinion on 49ers Star’s Recent Surgery

GETTY Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals is tackled by defensive end Dee Ford #55 of the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at State Farm Stadium on October 31, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona.

Dr. Michael Banffy may be a team physician for the Los Angeles Rams, but the California-based doctor gave encouraging news for San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dee Ford.

Banffy, who is also an orthopedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Job Institute in Los Angeles, talked to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch this past weekend, sharing his stance on where the former Kansas City Chief is at after suffering from knee tendinitis this past season.

“It has a very good chance to heal well,” said Banffy. “I think doing the surgery for him – something that was chronically nagging him and wasn’t responding to the modality treatments that the trainers were doing – it was probably just a very smart idea to go ahead and definitively treat it.”

After five seasons, a 2018 Pro Bowl and 30.5 sacks in 43 starts with Kansas City, the Chiefs traded Ford ahead of the 2019 season in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

In 2019, Ford started two games and made 11 regular-season appearances, totaling 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in that span.

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Banffy Speaks Further on Ford’s Injury

As Branch’s article details, Ford’s tendinitis was sever enough to require surgery after the 49ers’ run to Super Bowl LIV. The surgery is expected to help Ford build up his knee healthily rather than try and repair what is still there.

“The area of that tendon that is either removed or cleaned up or repaired is actually the same area of the tendon that we take very frequently for ACL reconstructions,” Banffy said. “And people are able to recover from graft harvests for an ACL very well. I think this can be very analogous to that and even less significant than that.”

Banffy added more information about Ford’s case specifically, saying that the severity of the tendinitis is rare.

“You typically don’t see tendinitis this severe. But I’ve known other players in the NFL and NBA who (have had surgery). They’ve all been able to return back to sport and are actually quite happy they’ve had it done.”

Ford’s Recent Insight on Injury

The general public was unaware of Ford’s injury before late May, when the defensive end spoke in a Zoom video press conference about knowing what the issue was as far back as last season’s training camp.

“We were spot-on with the injury as far as diagnosing it in training camp,” Ford said. “I had a severe case of tendinitis. … With my position, that’s a blown tire. I feel great right now. I’m able to actually explode off of this knee. Thinking back on it, I can’t believe I played a whole season on it, and we knew at the end of the day what we had to do. It had to be surgical, but I didn’t want to miss the season. We had too much going on. I didn’t want to miss that. It’s in the bag now, though, I’m confident in that.”

Ford went and saw renown sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Ford’s home state of Alabama, and rehabbed in the Heart of Dixie since the operation.

Talking more about his perspective going forward, Ford said that he’s focused on recovering, being reasonable and preparing for a full season.

“Anytime you are dealing with a chronic issue, you are always on the clock,” Ford said. “So if I’m able to play, I’m going to play. As of right now, I’m just getting as healthy as I can. … I know exactly what I felt like last year, [and] doing the things that I’m doing now, it’s like night and day. We’ll just play it by ear once everything gets going. We haven’t really had an offseason, no one has really been in competition, so it’s just really hard to measure where you’re at. So we are going to take it one day at a time and just keep getting this thing as strong as we can possibly get it so we can sack some quarterbacks.”

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Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, MT. Follow and reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier.