If Brandon Scherff's meniscus is injured, what's the prognosis?

Andrew Logue
Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff (68) warms up before last week's Ball State game.

IOWA CITY, Ia. – A report saying Iowa's Brandon Scherff had surgery on his meniscus had a lot of Hawkeye fans asking: What's a meniscus?

"The easiest way to describe a meniscus is, if you use a car analogy, it's a shock absorber in the knee," Dr. Nick Honkamp said. "It's this little wedge of tissue. There's two in each knee, one on each side, and it's wedged between the thigh bone and the shin bone.

"It provides just a cushion or a shock absorber between the two bones."

Honkamp is a partner at Des Moines Orthopedic Surgeons. He is not connected to Scherff's case in any way.

But he can give folks insight to what an athlete might face with such an injury.

"Often times, it will swell," Honkamp said. "It's hard for them to squat. Hard for them to bend or fully straighten the knee, just because of the fluid in there.

"The other thing is, any twisting activity, or torquing or cutting or pivoting really gets it."

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz hasn't confirmed that Scherff, a first-round NFL Draft prospect as an offensive lineman, had surgery or that he'll miss Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game against Iowa State.

A few unconfirmed reports suggested Scherff would miss 2-3 weeks. If the reports are true — and he was on crutches Tuesday, with teammates saying he would not play against the Cyclones — that could bring Scheff back for Iowa's Big Ten opener Sept. 27 at Purdue. Iowa has a bye week after that and returns to action Oct. 11 against Indiana.

What is a typical recovery time from meniscus injuries?

NFL rookie Jadeveon Clowney recently underwent surgery for a meniscus tear and is expected to miss four to six weeks. NBA stars Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose have dealt with meniscus issues and were sidelined for an extensive period.

Meanwhile, baseball player Chipper Jones suffered a slight tear and put off surgery. His recovery time was less than a month.

"It really depends on a couple things," Honkamp said. "Where it's torn and how much it's torn matters.

"You can have a small tear in one part of the knee, where it can be like Chipper Jones, 'Yeah, it hurts me a little bit, but I'm pretty functional.'

"It can be a little bigger tear, or just a tear in a worse spot, where it's much more debilitating, more swelling, more pain."