"Under The Knife" by Dr. Dave Siebert MD:
However, recurrent low-grade sprains may similarly necessitate going under the knife—as it appears Newton now knows.
The Panthers likely waited to see if Newton's most recent injuries—one from last December and soreness that, according to another report from Jones, lingered through late January's Pro Bowl—would adequately heal without surgery. Regrettably, it seems his progress stalled out, suggesting resting his ankle reached a point of diminishing returns.
Whereas a once-sprained ligament will usually heal and tighten back up without issue, multiple injuries can lead to a chronically weak ligament due to the accumulation of damage and scar tissue from each healing process.
Ligament tightening and repair surgery directly addresses the issue. According to Dr. Bob Baravarian—a foot and ankle surgeon at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif.—during a repair, a surgeon can physically reinforce the loose rubber band, so to speak.
"The stretched ligament may be slightly trimmed, but the main part of a primary ankle ligament repair is called a 'pants over vest' tightening of the ligament," Dr. Baravarian explained. "In this repair technique, the ligament is cut at the torn and stretched region and is pulled on top of the adjacent piece. Then, they are tied together to make a double thick repair site, thus the term 'pants over vest.'"
In other words, in the above method, a surgeon fully cuts the ligament at the weakened site and overlaps the two ends, resulting in both shorter and stronger tissue—once rehab is complete, that is.
Fortunately, there is not yet reason to expect anything less than a full recovery. Surgical ligament repairs carry good prognoses if doctors catch the issue early.
Furthermore, Newton will work with some of the best physical therapists out there, and the Panthers will surely take no risks with their franchise player.
While he may miss a significant portion of preseason workouts, in this case, the long-term gain far outweighs the short-term loss.