- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Bears free agent defensive end Corey Wootton recently had arthroscopic hip surgery to correct a problem that had caused the four-year NFL veteran discomfort for the past two years, this according to a press release issued on Monday by Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, the location where Wootton underwent the procedure sometime last week.
According to the doctor who performed the surgery, Dr. Benjamin Domb, Wootton had his hip labrum repaired as well as a decompression of a terminal femoroacetabular impingement, a condition that occurs when a person's hip bones are abnormally shaped and therefore rub against the labrum and cartilage, causing joint damage.
Wootton is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the 6-foot-6 defensive lineman recorded 35 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2013. Wootton had a career-high 7.0 sacks in 2012, but was forced to move inside and play heavy snaps at defensive tackle this past season due to a rash of injuries on the Bears' defensive line.
“I'm looking forward to being 100 percent recovered from this, to really showcase what I can do,” Wootton said in the release.
Dr. Domb expects Wootton to make a full recovery from the procedure in time for next season.
NFL players routinely undergo offseason surgical procedures to deal with nagging injuries. Wootton appeared in only 13 regular-season games over his first two years with the Bears because of a variety of health issues, but managed to play in all 16 games in each of the past two seasons.
“Corey is an incredible athlete and physical specimen and generates tremendous power with his body. In order to perform at his elite level, he needs a well-functioning hip,” Domb said. “Now that he has had his hip issue repaired, my expectation is that Corey will perform even better on the field than in previous years.”
In his end of the year press conference, Bears general manager Phil Emery said he expected Wootton to have options in free agency, but Emery noted the club would keep the lines of communications open with Wootton up until and through the start of the new league year on March 11.
“Corey is one of the guys that would transcend scheme,” Emery said. “I was in a 3-4, a pure, straight 3-4 defense in Kansas City and he could have been the right end. If he put a little weight on, he could be the left end. He played under-tackle for us. Actually Corey was most disruptive as a pass-rusher, between the defensive end and defensive tackle, at defensive tackle this year. Now in the past obviously he had a pretty good year a year ago. He's a guy that transcends scheme for us.
We said bye to each other as he was leaving and he knows that we're going to work through it and I know he's going to have options. We're going to be very thorough, like we are with all our evaluations. I'm sure that we'll continue to talk to him.”