A look at Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux throughout the 2016 season.
Cornerback Delvin Breaux hasn't been able to participate in training camp practice for more than a week, and missed the opening preseason game.
The New Orleans Saints now know exactly why that has been the case.
Breaux has been diagnosed with a fractured left fibula, rather than a contusion, and is expected to miss six weeks after having surgery as early as Thursday. The fracture is in a different place than last year's break, which occurred in the season opener against Oakland.
"The initial diagnosis was a negative when they looked at the scans," Coach Sean Payton said Wednesday. "There was nothing that they were able to see and then gradually, throughout the two-week period, it became more clear. Fortunately, the other day, in the second opinion he was able to see something more significant and that's a setback. Obviously, it's disappointing for him but more importantly, something that slowed down the progress.
"(Breaux) is flying to Green Bay. Dr. (Robert) Anderson (a renowned orthopedist, formerly based in Charlotte, N.C.) is going to do a surgery on his leg. The smaller bone, the fibula, has a fracture right below where his initial plate was. So that old plate will come off, they'll put a new plate on, secure that, and the timeline would be approximately six weeks with the fibula.
"If you're going to have a fracture, the fibula is one that is a little easier with the ability to plate it and rehab it. It's below where his prior injury was."
The corrected diagnosis also contributed to the Saints' parting ways with the team's two orthopedists, Drs. Deryk Jones and Misty Suri. For the team's joint practices this week, the Saints will use the Chargers' orthopedists.
"You're always trying to get the best opinion possible," Payton said. "It's one of those positions with every team that there's always that level of importance to come up with the right opinion. For years, those guys have done a great job and yet, there was a point at which we felt as an organization that change was going to be necessary for us. We'll be in the process of going through different candidates.
"You're always looking for the right information. I think it's not one event. It probably builds up over a period of time. You're not going to bat 1.000 here but you're just hoping that more often than not, you're getting the right information."
The incident was addressed with the team during a meeting Tuesday night.
"It's not unusual periodically to, over time, have a second opinion and maybe change the course of the direction you're going," Payton said. "This one's a little unique in that it deals more specifically with an area that showed up as a negative and then later became more pronounced through the rehab process.
"I think periodically – it's what I told our team – there's times where when this happens with a player, eventually, a decision is made and the club moves on. And when it happens with a coach, or the head coach, the same thing applies. And certainly that umbrella of just the confidence level in other areas applies as well.
"I think what everyone wants – the team, coaches – everyone wants that high level of accountability that's necessary to be successful."
Punter Thomas Morstead, the Saints' NFL player representative, said that Payton's message went over well with the team.
"I think it's always a concern with players," Morstead said. "I think a good organization is going to make sure that the players trust every part of the organization as best as possible. I think that's important. Whether it's trusting that you have the best coaches, or the best scouting department, or the best trainers, the best doctors.
"The more trust there is in that, you don't have guys trying to hide things so much and maybe trying to protect themselves. The team wants as much information as they can get and so whenever there is that trust, that's really important and that's what we're all striving for.
"Coach talked to the team last night. I thought he did a great job of basically promising the team that they're going to have people that are here in every area of the building, including the medical staff, that players feel like have their best interests at heart and are competent. He made that promise to the team and I think that message was very well received. And that's all any of us can ask for as players."