Joe Torchia's rehab expected to take 4-5 months
At one point during Virginia's game against Florida State on Oct. 2, senior tight end Joe Torchia and a Cavaliers tackle were blocking a defensive end when Torchia noticed a Seminoles cornerback blitzing into the backfield. Torchia let go of the defensive end and extended his right arm to chip the cornerback.
Upon impact, Torchia's right shoulder subluxed and his collegiate career ended. His shoulder labrum had torn and then returned to its normal position in the joint. On Oct. 12, Torchia, his father and Ethan Saliba, Virginia's head athletic trainer, traveled to Birmingham, Ala. where renowned sports orthopedic surgeon James Andrews repaired the labrum tear the next morning. The 90-minute procedure went well, Joe Torchia Sr. said, and the recovery is expected to take 4-5 months.
"Dr. Andrews said Joe is going to be better than new," Torchia Sr. said Wednesday night in a telephone interview.
Associate Athletic Trainer Kelli Pugh will oversee Torchia's rehab process until the end of the fall semester, at which point Torchia will move to Pensacola, Fla. and resume his recovery at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Torchia will train in Florida until Virginia's pro day in the spring.
According to Torchia Sr., Coach Mike London told Torchia, "You're still my captain." Torchia was on the sideline with a black sling around his right shoulder during Virginia's 44-10 loss to North Carolina last Saturday. Before the opening kickoff, Torchia gave words of encouragement to sophomore tight end Colter Phillips, who replaced Torchia in the starting lineup.
"He's been going to meetings and trying to help the younger tight ends," Torchia Sr. said. "I'm sure that he's going to be ready. He's going to be ready for his pro day, I guarantee you that."
Torchia had tallied nine receptions for 113 yards before suffering his season-ending injury.
His father said that on the day of Torchia's surgery, NFL players such as Carolina Panthers wide receiver Wallace Wright and Green Bay Packers linebacker Nick Barnett also were in Birmingham to have their right shoulders operated on by Andrews. Torchia began physical therapy the day after his surgery, and according to Torchia's father, the physical therapist was suprised at how much strength Torchia already had in his arm.
"Basically, we're going to do everything that we can to go ahead," Torchia Sr. said. "He's working hard, and Dr. Andrews seems to think that everything's going to be alright."
| October 21, 2010; 8:37 AM ET
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