Just two days after his 2006 season prematurely ended with a move to the injured reserve list, New York Giants left defensive end and franchise sack leader Michael Strahan visited Thursday with Charlotte, N.C.-based orthopedist Dr. Robert Anderson for a second opinion on his damaged right foot.
Results of the exam were not immediately available, but most New York officials expect that Strahan will require surgery to repair the Lisfranc sprain he sustained Nov. 5. And if surgery is indicated, the long and grueling rehabilitation could put into question Strahan's availability at the beginning of training camp next July.
Giants tailback Tiki Barber speculated on his radio show that Strahan "probably would retire" if he faces surgery. Several people close to Strahan, including agent Tony Agnone, denied that would be the case.
Strahan turned 35 last month, though, and his age could be working against him in the kind of strenuous rehabilitation regimen required of Lisfranc patients.
Anderson is the team orthopedist for the Carolina Panthers, but in recent years he has become arguably the country's leading expert on Lisfranc injuries. The injury is actually a mid-foot sprain, but recovery can be particularly dicey, and some players have required a year to fully rehabilitate.
Some feel Strahan was advised shortly after the injury that he would eventually require surgery, but that he delayed the procedure so that he could return to the field for the playoff stretch run. The 14-year veteran appeared in only one game after the injury -- last Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints -- and could not finish the contest.
If the second opinion results in a recommendation for surgery, Strahan would probably undergo the delicate procedure fairly quickly, so that he could begin his rehabilitation as soon as possible.
Strahan has appeared in 200 games, but only nine this season, and has 794 tackles, 132½ sacks, 21 forced fumbles, 14 recoveries, four interceptions and 30 passes defended. The seven-time Pro Bowl performer has notched double-digit sacks in six seasons and in 2001 set the NFL record with 22½ sacks.
He had only three sacks in 2006, his lowest total since his 1993 rookie campaign, when he had one.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.