This week Jon Runyan traveled to Alabama to see Dr James Andrews about his ailing right knee. He would either need a simple clean out that would take very little healing time, or he'd need microfracture surgery which would be much more significant.
Turns out, he need the microfracture surgery and will be out 4-6 months.
"I think there's enough of a track record out there that it's not going to totally kill me," said Runyan, whose streak of 192 successive games played was third among active players at the end of the 2008 season. "The doctor says I should be as good as new. But I'm not going to be able to prove it until time to play."
Results of microfracture surgery on pro athletes have been mixed. Generally, it seems, the younger you are, the better it works. The idea of the surgery is to create cartilage to replace what was damaged and had to be removed. The surgeon drills holes in the bone. As the holes heal, blood clots form that include cartilage. This cartilage is different from the original cartilage, however - it's denser and doesn't hold up as well under strenuous activity. In older players, the new cartilage sometimes lasts only a few years.
I've been of the opinion that the Eagles would look to bring back one of the two free agent OTs and I think this just might have made their decision a lot easier.
Unfortunately, at 35 years old coming off major knee surgery and a possible 6 month recovery period... it would be hard to see how the Eagles could rely on Runyan to hold down the right side. In fact, it's hard to see how any team would right now.
I think its likely that after he's healed, Runyan will get an invite to someone's training camp and have a chance to prove that he's healthy and ready to go. Maybe it will be here... but I would expect to see him getting major interest in the weeks after the start of free agency.
If this truly is the end, we should all give Jon a big thanks and a hearty good bye. The guy has been a great Eagle for many years now.