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Shawne Merriman

After hearing the opinions of four different doctors, Shawne Merriman has decided he’d forgo surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee so he can play for the San Diego Chargers this season. Apparently, the injury is not going to get any worse, although, I do wonder about the stability of his ACL, considering the other torn ligaments help support the knee. Now the ACL will be doing more work and if there’s anything I’ve learned about the NFL, it’s that ACLs and the NFL don’t make a nice mix.

The concern increases when you realize Merriman’s ACL will be operating without the normal help from its friends. Ultimately, it’s his career and his knee and if the man wants to play, by all means, please do. And while I’m not a Super Chargers fan, I’d hate to see a 24-year old ruin a promising career just so he can play this season.

But again, it’s his knee and his decision, of which, you can tell he really wants to be on the field when the Chargers season starts next Sunday:

“I just want to play football,” Merriman said. “That’s what it comes down to. I know what’s on the table. I know what’s on the line. I’ve put in a lot of work and I want to play… If I wasn’t able to go out there and play at a high level and continue to do the things that I needed to do, I wouldn’t make this decision to play,” Merriman said. “For me it’s about going out there, knowing what I’m capable of doing and going out and getting things done.”

Could Merriman’s decision to play have to do with the Chargers being a Super Bowl contender, something he obviously would not like to miss out on? Or is this a case of simple stubborn pride simply getting the best of Merriman? Naturally, the answers to those questions (as well as these) will be easier to give as the Chargers season gets underway. Then the level of Merriman’s play will reveal a lot.

If he’s flying around the field, causing his normal amount of chaos, then it’s pretty obvious he knew what he was doing. But if he’s ineffective, or worse yet, compounds the injury like Dennis Dixon did, then it’s pretty obvious surgery and rehab were his best choice.

The Chargers open their season with five winnable games, after that, it’s the New England match-up. I think it’s safe to say we’ll know about Merriman and his knee by then.