Green Bay - Green Bay Packers wide receiver Javon Walker has chosen Houston Texans team physician Walter Lowe to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will undergo surgery Friday in Houston.
Walker said he decided to go with Lowe because he was part of a medical group that had operated on his right shoulder after the 2003 season. Lowe will be in charge of Walker''s surgery and rehabilitation, which means the Packers will have a very limited role in overseeing his return to the football field.
Even though Walker suffered the injury in the season-opener at Detroit on Sept. 11, surgery was put off until this week because of swelling in the knee area. It is expected that Walker will need six to 10 months to recover from the surgery, and he could miss all off-season activities.
It is rare for Packers players to go outside the organization to have surgery, in part, because team physician Patrick McKenzie has such a good reputation. Since 2001, McKenzie has done about a half-dozen ACL repairs on Packers, including offensive tackle Mark Tauscher, safety Antuan Edwards and most recently linebacker Kurt Campbell.
In 1996, the year the Packers won the Super Bowl, wide receiver Robert Brooks and linebacker George Koonce both had ACLs repaired by McKenzie and came back to start again.
Among the players who have gone outside the organization to have knees operated on were tackle Brennan Curtin (2004) and linebacker Brian Williams (2000), both of whom struggled to regain their form and were eventually released. Curtin had an ACL tear and Williams had a patellar tendon rupture.
Walker will be away from the organization for the first four to six weeks after surgery because he will have to stay in Houston to be regularly monitored by Lowe. Walker''s mother lives in Houston, which is probably one reason he decided to have the surgery there.
Lowe will direct his rehabilitation program and tell the Packers when Walker is cleared for football activities.
General manager Ted Thompson said the Packers had no objections to Walker seeking treatment outside of the organization and felt comfortable having Lowe perform the surgery.
Lowe has been the Texans'' team physician since 2001, served as team physician for the NBA''s Houston Rockets from 1993-2003 and also is team physician for the WNBA''s Houston Comets. He is an associate professor of the department of orthopedic surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine and has estimated in published reports that he does 250 ACL reconstructions a year.
He has consulted on or performed knee surgeries on athletes such as Buffalo''s Willis McGahee, Houston''s Tony Boselli, New England''s Richard Seymour and the WNBA''s Sheryl Swoopes.
Walker may have been directed to Lowe by agent Drew Rosenhaus, although talk inside the Packers organization persists that Walker is no longer affiliated with Rosenhaus. Walker said this week that Rosenhaus was still his agent, but he said at this point he has no need for an agent since he''s under contract through next year and there''s no chance the Packers will be extending his deal until he proves he can come back from his injury.