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How Much Did Zac Lee's Injury Affect His Play in 2009?

After the Holiday Bowl it came out that Zac Lee had suffered an injury early in the season on his throwing arm, and that the injury was serious enough that it required surgery in January. I asked Paragon over at the USC site Conquest Chronicles, SB Nation's resident expert in injuries, to give us some details about Lee's injury, his surgery, and what how it might have affected his play. What I got was way more detail than I can possibly understand, something I should have known when asking a doctor to do a write-up. Epidemiology to you, too, buddy.

It's now come out that Lee will most likely miss spring practice, which is understandable given that the rehabilitation period is 10 to 12 weeks. Lee won't be able to throw the ball during that period, so he will lose some conditioning time over the winter and into the spring.

While Lee refused to use the injury as an excuse for his play this season, it's pretty clear that it would have affected his performance. Specifically, it would have affected his ability to grip the ball, resulting in some problems with control.

Given that the injury would have strained his elbow and that in turn would have extended into his shoulder area, it probably affected his ability to put more power into his throws. Perhaps some of those deep throws to Niles Paul were under thrown for a reason.  

The bad news is that Lee needs as much work with the Husker offense as he can get (as do the other quarterbacks). The good news is that he should be completely healed by the time fall rolls around. There are a lot of Husker fans who weren't impressed by Lee this past season, but unless Cody Green improves his accuracy, Lee is still the best shot the Huskers have at quarterback come the 2010 season. Kody Spano and Taylor Martinez have been in Nebraska's system for a year now, but neither has seen the field - both will need impressive spring and fall practices to unseat Lee, who now has a full season of starts under his belt.