Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed his final audition for NFL teams Friday, throwing in his own personal pro day that seemed to leave no doubt he will be the top pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.
The only potential hang-up, and a small one at that, is a surgery he will undergo now that his pro day is complete. Regardless of how or when the injury occurred, Lawrence only missed two games in his college career, both in 2020 due to a COVID-19 diagnosis. For what it’s worth, it seems the injury didn’t affect his ability to impress scouts, media and coaches alike — not only at his pro day, but also throughout his career.
Here’s what you need to know about Lawrence’s injury, his timeline for recovery and whether he will be able to return in time for the 2021 NFL season:
What is Trevor Lawrence’s injury?
ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Feb. 5 reported that Lawrence suffered a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder and would undergo surgery following a personal pro day.
Per the Hospital for Special Surgery, the labrum is a “cup-shaped rim of cartilage that lines and reinforces the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder. … The labrum is the attachment site for the shoulder ligaments and supports the ball-and-socket joint as well as the rotator cuff tendons and muscles. It contributes to shoulder stability and, when torn, can lead to partial or complete shoulder dislocation.”
Torn labrums typically occur either from overuse or blunt force trauma, and include symptoms of pain, grinding, “sticking” in the shoulder socket, decreased shoulder strength and decreased range of motion. Considering Lawrence will undergo surgery on his non-throwing arm, it’s likely he tore his labrum as a result of getting tackled.
HSS lists two types of labral tears: superior labrum from anterior to posterior (SLAP) and Bankart.
Per HSS, SLAP tears occur at the front of the upper arm where the biceps tendon connects to the shoulder. Bankart tears are more likely to appear in young patients who have suffered dislocated shoulders. Bankart tears usually occur when the shoulder joint ball slips out of the socket, causing the joint capsule to pull on the lower portion of the labrum, tearing it.
Neither Lawrence nor his representatives indicated what kind of tear the quarterback suffered.
Trevor Lawrence injury timeline
Lawrence’s representatives from MGC Sports on Feb. 5 confirmed reports the quarterback would need surgery for a torn labrum on his left shoulder. Because of that, he elected to skip Clemson’s team pro day on March 11 and instead throw for teams on Feb. 12. That gives him an extra month to rehab from surgery and up his timeline to return from the procedure.
Lawrence impressed scouts during his workout in areas such as footwork, throwing motion, release time, velocity and deep-ball accuracy. Now that his pro day has concluded, he will reportedly undergo surgery on Feb. 13.
That still leaves the question as to when exactly Lawrence’s injury occurred.
Per Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the issue initially arose in 2019, during the Tigers’ Week 2 game against SEC opponent Texas A&M. Breer reported Lawrence “nicked it” against the Aggies, though not to the point he would require being held out. It’s uncertain how much that affected his play, but Lawrence did complete only five touchdowns — and five interceptions — in the first three games of the 2019 season. Breer added that Lawrence re-aggravated the injury sometime in 2020.
Regardless, it seems to have not been overly impactful to his play: He combined to complete 499 of 741 passes (67.3 percent) for 6,818 yards and 60 touchdowns to 13 interceptions as a sophomore and junior.
As for Lawrence’s timeline for recovery, he told ESPN’s Rece Davis he could start throwing again six to eight weeks following the Feb. 13 surgery and expects to be fully cleared four to five months after the procedure.
Trevor Lawrence to @ReceDavis on his left shoulder: “I think roughly – & obviously I’ve gotta continue to talk to the doctors & see how the rehab goes – but I think I can throw in 6-8 weeks after the surgery, start throwing again. And then looking at a 4-5 month full clearance.”
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 12, 2021
Based on his timeline, Lawrence would be fully cleared in mid-July. That said, it’s uncertain whether he will be able to participate in minicamps or OTAs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trevor Lawrence injury updates
Sept. 7, 2019 — Lawrence reportedly injures labrum against Texas A&M
Feb. 5, 2021 — Lawrence’s representatives at MGC sports confirm he will undergo surgery for torn labrum on left shoulder, announce he will throw at personal pro day on Feb. 12
Feb. 5, 2021 — Lawrence throws for NFL teams, says he will be able to throw 6-8 weeks after surgery, recovering completely after 4-5 months
Feb. 6, 2021 — Lawrence scheduled for surgery on left labrum