The Matt Gutierrez saga has finally come to some type of
conclusion — for now.
The redshirt sophomore quarterback is taking a week off from
practice, recovering from surgery to repair cartilage damage to his
shoulder. Gutierrez had the procedure on Monday at the University
While Gutierrez has spent much of this week sleeping, his father
Paul — who traveled to Ann Arbor from northern California to
accompany him through the surgery and recovery process — said
that everything has gone well.
“He’s still, I’d guess you’d say,
heavily medicated,” Paul Gutierrez said. “But
he’s not experiencing a lot of pain, and that’s the
Gutierrez was expected to begin the season as the starter, but
was shut down the week before the Miami (Ohio) game for what the
team called a sore shoulder. This began a period of speculation as
to the nature of Gutierrez’s injury. Eventually, an MRI later
that month discovered that the quarterback had a torn labrum, a
type of cartilage found in the shoulder where the shoulder blade is
connected to the arm. Because the labrum is located between two
bones, it is much harder to detect than other shoulder problems,
such as a torn rotator cuff. Thus, it was much more complicated
process to formulate a diagnosis than it would have been for a more
visible shoulder injury. For someone who was supposed to be
Michigan’s starting quarterback, the whole ordeal was a
“The toughest part was that he knew he couldn’t
perform and not knowing what was wrong initially, and then having
to wait until things took their course,” Paul Gutierrez
After the problem was discovered, Gutierrez and his family
consulted team physician James Carpenter — who conducted the
surgery — and a specialist in Los Angeles. The doctors shared
information, and once the final prognosis became clear,
“things moved pretty quickly after that,” according to
Now, Gutierrez will begin an estimated six-month recovery period
and will no longer be the holder for kicker Garrett Rivas. Punter
Adam Finley is expected to take over those duties.
Gutierrez will be unable to throw the ball for three months
while the sutures used to reattach the labrum to the bone heal.
Then the quarterback will begin light throwing during the following
three months, when he is hoping to be close to a full recovery.
Labrum tears are more commonly found in baseball pitchers, whose
arms bear more significant stress than a quarterback’s. But
Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon missed much of the 2003 NFL
season with a similar injury. As of now, Gutierrez is expected to
make a full recovery.
While the origin of the injury is up for speculation, according
to his father, Gutierrez probably developed a sore shoulder during
fall practice and put too much additional stress on it, leading to
Meanwhile, true freshman Chad Henne has flourished in the
starting quarterback role, leading to speculation as to
Gutierrez’s future at Michigan no matter how well he
recovers. Paul Gutierrez said that he has spoken with his son about
the situation, but that nothing significant has changed in that
“His goal is to get healthy, and compete, and eventually
win the job back,” Paul Gutierrez said. “He’s
going to compete as hard as he can.”
Gutierrez has two years of eligibility remaining, and is
currently not able to apply for another year.