Weekly Q&A — 10/8/15 Answers

Q: Some people have suggested that Myles Jack’s decision to leave the team and focus on the draft will hurt him because it shows he isn’t a “team player”. Isn’t that the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard?

A: Oh, I’ve heard dumber things. No one can question Myles Jack’s talent or potential, and he has a good chance to be a first-round pick even with his knee injury — which isn’t one that should severely limit him by the time he has to prove himself in pre-draft workouts. But is maturity a potential knock on Jack? Probably. It’s not that dropping out of school after a season-ending injury is so shocking in an of itself. I think Jack is better off focusing on rehabbing and training for the NFL draft, but front offices could certainly ask whether or not he could have waited until the end of the season to declare. Take that in context with his being ejected in three straight training camps — with the latest incident occurring in front of NFL scouts — and I don’t think it’s a complete non-factor. (I think those displays were also indicative of why he wasn’t voted a team captain despite his considerable abilities.)

Still, talent wins out in the end. Washington dismissed cornerback Marcus Peters last season, far more serious than anything Jack has done at UCLA. Peters was still taken No. 18 overall this past spring.

Q: What position do you think Myles Jack will play in the NFL? Outside linebacker? Strong safety?

A: I think he’ll stay at outside linebacker, maybe in a 4-3 scheme. His coverage ability is his best attribute, and that’s a premium skill at linebacker in today’s NFL. I think keeping him in the front seven is a better way to utilize his versatility, but he’s certainly a viable candidate to play strong safety too. It might depend on what the team that drafts him needs more badly.

Q: Who do you think will follow Myles to the NFL after this season? Will it be Kenny Clark or Eddie Vanderdoes or both? Continue reading

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Myles Jack: Jim Mora’s NFL draft comments ‘definitely surprised me’

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack (30) said he was surprised that head coach Jim Mora seemed skeptical about his NFL draft decision. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack (30) said he was surprised that head coach Jim Mora seemed skeptical about his NFL draft decision. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Despite expressing support for Myles Jack’s decision to leave UCLA, head coach Jim Mora sounded uncertain about the linebacker’s draft prospects.

On Tuesday, Mora described Jack’s choice to go pro as a risky move, saying that he had “never seen a guy taken off of” just three games as a junior. The 20-year-old started 28 straight games as a Bruin before suffering a season-ending meniscus tear late last month.

However, Jack told NFL.com that had a brief conversation with Mora and left under the impression that the coach was back him “1,000 percent.”

“(His later comments) definitely surprised me,” Jack told NFL.com‘s Mike Silver, “but I don’t know — maybe that’s what he felt. I mean, it’s a little crazy down there right now. They just suffered their first defeat (to Arizona State), and these are crazy times around here. But I’m still riding with the Bruins. Continue reading

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Myles Jack withdraws from UCLA, declares for NFL draft

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack will enter the 2016 NFL draft despite suffering a season-ending knee injury, head coach Jim Mora announced Tuesday.

“He’s taken his chips and he’s shoving them into the middle,” Mora said. “We hope he draws a good hand.”

A projected first-round pick, Jack has withdrawn from school just two weeks after tearing his anterior meniscus, an injury that will sideline him for four to six months. He appeared in three games this season, recording 15 tackles as well as a game-sealing interception against BYU, the final play of his collegiate career. Continue reading

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Examining Myles Jack’s recovery timetable after his meniscus tear

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack is out four to six months after undergoing surgery to repair an anterior meniscus tear. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack is out four to six months after undergoing surgery to repair an anterior meniscus tear. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack tore his anterior meniscus this week, and underwent knee surgery that head coach Jim Mora said will end his season. Jack is sidelined for the next four to six months rather than weeks, Mora explained, because he had his meniscus stitched — a process that requires more rehab.

Dr. Scott Rodeo is the co-chief emeritus of sports medicine and shoulder service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, as well as the team physician for the New York Giants. He answered some questions about Jack’s injury, as well as the star linebacker’s prospective recovery timetable.

Q: What are the advantages of opting for a stitch over trimming the meniscus?

A: “It’s only a minority of tears that are repairable, based on the location of a tear, and blood supply to the meniscus. But if it’s a repairable tear, it’s better to repair for the long-term health of that knee. The issue is that it takes time to heal. Most of the time, (trimming) a torn meniscus, you can get back to sports in three to four weeks. It can be quick. In contrast, a repair, you let the meniscus heal, and it takes time. It’s a much different rehab, but better in the long term for the kid’s knee.”

Q: Is a four- to six-month recovery timetable a conservative estimate, or is that fairly common after a meniscus is stitched?

A: “That’s very typical. It may take more. It can take a knee up to six months, to really let it heal, and then get your motion back — your strength, coordination, balance, and everything in the knee. Four to six months is perfectly appropriate. It almost takes you back to contact sports. You can run between months three and four, and at the four-month point kind of progress to more sports-specific activity. Full-go contact can be at least six months there.”

Q: Do any effects linger from this type of injury?

A: “It can. It depends on a lot of factors. Continue reading

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Weekly Q&A — 9/24/15 Answers

Q: Does UCLA have enough defensive depth to win the Pac-12 given the three major injuries that have taken place to date?

A: Saturday’s game at Arizona will be very telling, but I wouldn’t count UCLA out of the Pac-12 yet. There’s no team in the division — or in the conference, really — that doesn’t have at least one significant question hanging over its head right now. It helps the Bruins that they can avoid Oregon and Washington in conference play.

I do think that the Bruins’ chances hinge a lot on whether or not the rest of league hits some speed bumps too. This feels like a season that will see the Pac-12 produce a two-loss champion, so UCLA’s path could become more about surviving a war of attrition rather than razing the field.

Q: Do you think Myles Jack will stay another year?

A: I do not. This is cherry picking a bit, but other players have left college after missing most of their final season without suffering much in terms of draft position. Sam Bradford (No. 1, 2010) and Todd Gurley (No. 10, 2015) are the first examples that come to mind, and both were coming off injures — shoulder and ACL, respectively — that appear to be more serious than Jack’s. If the UCLA linebacker sticks to that four- to six-month timetable, he should be fully healthy in time for all the major pre-draft workouts. There’s also the matter of that $5 million insurance policy he took out more than a year ago. If he does slip a little bit in this coming draft draft, that should make up for a good chunk of the financial losses. Why would he want to come back to college and risk an even more serious injury?

Q: What are your odds Myles makes it back this year? Continue reading

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