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  • Noteworthy Injuries

John Moffitt


Seattle Seahawks offensive linemen John Moffit and James Carpenter are done for the year after sustaining knee injuries.

John Moffitt is done for the season after tearing the Posterior Cruciate ligament (PCL) and the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) in his right knee, coach Pete Carroll said as he addressed reporters.

Moffitt, a third-round pick out of Wisconsin, had started all nine games for the Seahawks. He wa part of a young, rebuilt offensive line being coached by Tom Cable. Carroll stated that John Moffitt's knee injury is serious enough to require surgery, so he is out for the rest of the year. Backup lineman Lemuel Jeanpierre or Paul McQuistanwill be replacing Moffitt at right tackle. Moffitt had really impressed coaches and come into his own at right guard. He had created stability to the right side of the line. "He's been working so hard at it and has been such a big part too. He's a good character in the locker room and all and a good guy and really right at the cusp of when we're starting to improve," Carroll said of Moffitt. "He would have loved to have been part of this as we finish the season."

What is a MCL injury?

Where is the MCL?

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is a strong flat band of fibrous tissue that extends from the medial epicondyle of the femur (thigh bone) to the medial plateau and superior part of the medial surface of the tibia (shin bone). The MCL is a thickening of the fibrous joint capsule and has an attachment to the medial meniscus.

What does the MCL do?

The MCL is one of four ligaments that are critical to the stability of the knee joint. A ligament is made of tough fibrous material and functions to control excessive motion by limiting joint. The four major stablizing ligaments of the knee are the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL and PCL, respectively), and the medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL and LCL, respectively). The MCL functions to limit how much the outside of the knee opens during movement.

Causes of MCL Injury?

The MCL is typically injured when the outside of the knee is struck. This type of stress in the knee can stretch the MCL beyond its normal elastic range and lead to a tear. Once the ligament tears, it heals very slowly. In comparison to muscles, ligaments and tendons have less blood flow, thus producing slower healing time. An MCL tear can occur as an isolated injury or it can be associated with other knee injuries, in particular tears of the ACL and medial meniscus. The combination of an ACL tear, MCL tear, and medial meniscus tear is referred to as the “unhappy triad.”

What are the symptoms of an MCL tear?

The most common symptom following an MCL injury is pain directly over the ligament on the inside (medial side) of the knee. Knee pain, swelling, and decreased motion are common with this injury. Swelling directly over the torn ligament may and bruising are common 24 to 48 hours after the injury. Generalized joint swelling (joint effusion) may or may not be present with this injury. Symptoms of a medial collateral ligament injury tend to correlate with the extent of the injury. MCL injuries are graded on a scale of I to III. A grade I injury is a small tear within the ligament. A grade II injury is a medium sized tear. A grade III injury is a complete tear of the MCL, which is usually associated with tears of other knee ligaments. If only the MCL is truly injured, walking is usually not a problem, and athletes are often able to return to competition after being cleared by their doctor.

What is the treatment?

Most MCL tears heal own their own without the need for surgery. A brace is often prescribed to protect the ligament while it heals. Grade I and grade II injuries usually resolve within 4-6 weeks, though full recovery may sometimes take longer than this. During this time, it is important to work on strengthening the surrounding muscle groups and physical therapy is often prescribed. Grade III injuries are more severe injuries that are usually associated with tears of other ligaments in the knee and may require surgery.





Proliance Surgeons

Ron Gregush, MD

Lake Washington Physical Therapy

Benjamin Wobker, PT, DPT


Other Injuries:

(click here)



Larry Maurer, DPM



Orthopedic Physical Assessment, 4th Edition. David J. Magee, 2006. Physical Rehabilitation: Assessment and Treatment, 4th Edition. Susan B. O’Sullivan and Thomas J. Schmitz, 2001.



John Moffitt
MCL Anatomy

MCL Tear




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