I'm not sure if Palmer is rostered in any leagues at this point, but reportedly he's "excited" about throwing over the weekend and not suffering the pain he'd experienced earlier in the season. Even though the articles posted last week suggested Palmer wouldn't begin throwing until December 7th, today's article says he's been throwing for the past 2 weeks. Lewis is quoted saying he wants to get Palmer out there for one of the final 3 games. Makes sense to me. It's hard to imagine the Bengals would feel comfortable delaying possible Tommy John surgery without seeing him play with the questionable arm to be sure. Anyway, could make a nice stash for the teams who make it to a week 16 championship...
Surgery not likely for Palmer
Lewis: Experts think rehab best
By Dustin Dow • email@example.com • December 9, 2008
Maybe quarterback Carson Palmer will play again this season for the Bengals. Maybe he won't.
Maybe he needs surgery to fix his damaged throwing elbow. Maybe he doesn't.
Maybe he has been throwing a real NFL football for the past two weeks. Or maybe he just started throwing one on Friday for the first time since early October.
As the Bengals' 1-11-1 season approaches the final three games, there's as much uncertainty about Palmer's immediate and long-term future as there was Sept. 21, when he first injured his elbow in a game against the New York Giants.
During a news conference Monday, head coach Marvin Lewis said that if Palmer needs to have surgery to repair the elbow - which Palmer has said involved a ligament and a tendon separated from the bone - then it would be better to have the surgery sooner rather than later so that Palmer could recover in time for training camp.
Five minutes later, when pressed on recent inconsistencies concerning Palmer's rehabilitation schedule, Lewis said there is no indication from any football orthopedist that Palmer needs surgery.
"Every indication of every football orthopedist that has seen Carson is there will probably be no need for surgery, OK? So can we just. . . . Carson is going on his rehab plan just like he's been going, and it's going to continue that way, and that's where we are. We've done everything possible. There's no need to have an unnecessary surgery if he doesn't need it, and there's no indication that he needs surgery, OK?"
Palmer, a former No. 1 overall draft pick, Pro Bowl quarterback and cornerstone player of the Bengals franchise, has not played since Oct. 5 in order to rest his elbow, hoping it will heal in time for him to play again this season.
Last Wednesday, Palmer said he was looking forward to throwing a real football again; on Friday, Lewis said Palmer had already been throwing a real football all week; on Sunday, Palmer said he'd been throwing real footballs for the past couple of weeks.
Despite the discrepancies, Lewis said Monday that "there was no confusion" about how long Palmer has been throwing a real football.
"He was throwing all week, but that really doesn't matter," Lewis said Monday. "There's no reason for us to go backward."
Lewis says questions about Palmer "are really not relevant" to the team's current situation. But the interest in Palmer is acute because if he needs surgery, the sooner he gets it, the sooner he'd be able to start rehabilitating for next season.
If surgery is no longer a consideration, the question becomes whether Palmer will play again this season, even though the team is eliminated from the postseason.
Lewis said he hopes Palmer can play in one of the final three games, though probably not Sunday's game against Washington. On Dec. 1, Lewis said that "you don't think about next year when you're in the middle of this year."
He reiterated that stance Monday.
"He'd like an opportunity to play if he's healthy and well," Lewis said. "What football players do is they play football."
Palmer wasn't available Monday, but he has spoken recently about surgery being a possibility, though a last resort.
"If the tendon and the ligament don't heal and don't fasten themselves back down to the bone, then I'm assuming it's going to be surgery," Palmer said Nov. 24.
He said the same day that the target day to begin throwing a football was Sunday, Dec. 7 because that was when doctors expected that his ligament and tendon could have re-attached naturally.
On Nov. 30, Palmer said he was anticipating being able to throw soon and hoped he could have some "zip" on his throws.
"If it's surgery, it's surgery," he said that day. "If it's not, it's not."
One week and one day later on Monday, Lewis said there's no reason to think Palmer will need surgery. And he said the quarterback is looking good.
"He had a good week last week throwing the football," Lewis said, specifying that Palmer threw beyond the 15-yard range. "He did well on everything he's done so far. He's had none of the issues he was dealing with before. He's excited about it, and so we'll continue to allow him to throw further and harder with more regularity."