Eric Berry’s 2018-2019 season consisted of playing in just three games for the Chiefs. That was made up of 30 snaps in week 15, 69 snaps in week 16 and 97 snaps in the AFC Championship game. Berry’s playing time was limited because of a foot injury.
Berry was diagnosed with what was described as a heel injury. On September 29, 2018, NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo better explained the injury:
“He’s got what’s called a Haglund’s deformity in that Achilles,” Garafolo said. “That’s a bone spur that basically digs into the Achilles. Shaun O’ Hara, our colleague at NFL Network, he had it. I spoke to him this week. He said it is extremely painful. He actually used a more colorful word that I won’t use here.– Mike Garafolo
Haglund’s Deformity can be be treated with surgery but there are nonsurgical treatments as well. Those treatments include medication to reduce the pain and inflammation, exercise to relieve tension from the Achilles tendon and physical therapy in addition to physical devices to cushion the heel in the shoe. These nonsurgical treatments will not fix the problem but can provide pain relief.
When nonsurgical treatment is not successful surgery is needed. Surgery is done to remove the part of the heel bone that is sticking out. Surgery for this condition can be done in a couple of ways:
Endoscopic surgery is less invasive than traditional surgery. Because it uses smaller incisions than traditional surgery, the recovery is often shorter. According to 2018 research, it results in good to excellent outcomes in the short and medium-term.
Conventional surgery, however, also appears to have successful outcomes. One study found that the majority of those who had traditional surgery had relief of their pain at their one-year follow-up. But, the authors noted that doctors should tell people that the recovery from surgery can be several months.– Medical News Today
In January, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Berry would undergo further examination and possibly need surgery in the offseason.
After all of the trouble Berry had getting on the field this past season, most assumed that surgery would be the result. However, Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine Andy Reid was asked about Berry’s injury and he said that Berry didn’t have surgery. Reid then clarified himself by saying that Berry would not need to have surgery.
Eric Berry reportedly traveled to Green Bay to get a second opinion on his heel:
This means that Eric Berry will approach the 2019-2020 season hoping that nonsurgical treatment will reduce the pain enough so he can play. Berry wasn’t able to do that this past season. He was only able to get into three games this past season. Surgery, while more likely to resolve the issue since it directly addresses and corrects the problem, could take several months to recover.
Regardless of the approach Berry chose for handling the injury, the Chiefs have to consider how his injury risk will affect the team financially. Do they cut Berry and save salary cap money or do they keep him and hope that he is able to play most of the season?
If I read the Spotrac information correctly it appears that the Chiefs will actually save $9.55 million if they release Berry after June 1, 2020. Either way, Soren is correct that a decision needs to be made by the Chiefs before March 15.
The goal should always be to let go of a player a year early rather than a year late. The Chiefs may have already held on to Berry too long. Even if he is great this season with another team is it worth taking a chance of being stuck spending a lot of salary cap money on a player who cannot play for the second consecutive year? The best thing for the Chiefs at this time is to cut their losses and cut Eric Berry prior to March 15.