There are two things that strike you when you consider the current plight of wide receiver Mark Bradley in light of the announcement Wednesday he recently underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and is questionable for the beginning of training camp, which doesn’t start for nearly nine weeks.
First, this guy’s had some incredibly poor luck.
Second, just how is it the team came to count on him so heavily heading into 2008? There had to be a reason he was only on the field to catch six balls last season. Yes, Bernard Berrian had a very productive season relative to the ineptitude of the offense as a whole, but what exactly was Muhsin Muhammad doing to keep Bradley or anyone else off the field?
Let’s recap Bradley’s injury history:
*** He tore the ACL in his left knee when he was a sophomore at Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2001 and wound up doing most of the rehab after transferring to Oklahoma the next year.
*** He tore the ACL in his right knee during Week 8 of his rookie season in 2005 at Ford Field. It happened at the end of the first half in what was turning into a breakout performance. Bradley was getting loose in the Lions secondary and looked like the run-after-the-catch star the team heralded him to be when drafting him in the second round with the 39th overall pick that April.
*** He badly sprained an ankle in 2006 when he tripped down a flight of stairs in his home. He explained he was hustling to watch a spiritual DVD. That cost him five games. This doesn't strike of the explanation defensive lineman Bryan Robinson delivered when he broke both wrists in May 2002. He blamed it on a home fall on a stairwell, saying he tripped over his dog. Turns out Robinson was actually injured on an ATV, or at least that's the story he gave the coaching staff.
*** Knee soreness knocked him out for a week at the end of training camp last summer reducing his role in preseason and no doubt leading to coach Lovie Smith announcing he was the team’s “No. 5” receiver early in the year.
Before the season ended, the coaching staff openly spoke about how it was a mistake Bradley had not been used more. By then it was too late to do a lot about it for a team that was trying to get Devin Hester offensive snaps as well. It’s a little difficult to connect all the dots with this one, and it’s hard to blame Bradley for anything beyond not staying healthy.
The plus, if there is one, is that Bradley says he’ll be ready for the start of camp.
``He just had some things in there to clean out,’’ wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said. ``Nothing serious. He’ll be OK.’’
Does it give Drake pause for concern considering the history he has with his knees?
``Not me,’’ he replied. ``Not at all.’’
We’ll see how much pause the team has after Bradley returns.