Vinatieri: End of a legend?

via www.stilettosetsports.com Its baaaack! I love this picture!

Alright folks lets talk about something we have been ignoring and that something is our good friend Adam Vinatieri. Now Adam V is a revered hero. Almost a legend you could say because he is sort of like a good version of Benedict Arnold. Someone who defected from tyranny (the Patriots) to fight for truth, freedom and American apple pie (the Colts). Now that being said we need to talk about it... we need to talk about the possible end of Adam V.

Lets start with what we know. We know that Adam V has a bum hip. We know that he had an intrusive operation on this hip back in June and we also know that he had his knee scoped at the same time (which could mean anything). Adam V is on the PUP list and the Colts are starting to bring in other kickers for pre-season. The Colts say he will be ready for the season opener, but we know about the history of Colts medical statements.

There are a couple of big red flags that jump out at me; one the surgery was in June meaning there isn't a lot of recovery time for this. For instance, Joe Addai had his knee scoped back in January which gives a much longer recovery period. The second issue is that this is a hip injury. Hip and knee injuries are serious injuries. Any injury that affects the legs is serious for a professional athlete even "minor" ones and it goes without saying that a kicker uses his hips a lot to generate power to... well kick the ball. In Vinatieri's case this is his right (kicking leg) hip and that's not good anyway you cut it. All surgeries, regardless of how talented the surgeon is, lead to muscle atrophy. That is when  the muscle loses strength due to disuse. Even if the surgery is 100% effective it remains to be seen if Vinatieri can regain the strength in his leg for this season.

We also know that this hip injury has been affecting him for over a year. Despite this he had a productive 2008 season going 20 for 25 on field goals. He was also clutch in the Minnesota game so there is cause for optimism here. Its not all doom and gloom.

However, its pretty clear that Adam V has been dinged up for awhile now. He struggled in 2007 due to injuries (leading to the infamous Chargers game) then seemed to bounce back last year only to have this hip injury flare up on him recently. He is also now almost 37 years old. It gets tough even for kickers around that age. Finally, it's worth pointing out that he counts a great deal against the cap at around 2.0 million. Is it worth it to keep a 50%  effective Vinatieri around at that cap hit? Well maybe for the "Vinatieri mojo" I am not sure.

Now no one is ready to plant roses on the grave of Vinatieri's career. The jury is still out on that. He could still be highly effective for a number of years, but there is some serious doubts that can happen now. I think its a mistake for we, as fans, to just gloss this over and say, "Oh Vinatieri will be fine." This hip injury to Adam V may very well be an issue for the Colts in the 2009 season. We will keep at eye on it.

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