TODAY'S PAPER
41° Good Evening
41° Good Evening
SportsFootballJets

Kelechi Osemele says he'll have season-ending surgery, even without Jets' authorization

Jets guard Kelechi Osemele speaks with the media

Jets guard Kelechi Osemele speaks with the media after a day of training camp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on Aug. 6. Credit: James Escher

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Kelechi Osemele has decided that he will have season-ending shoulder surgery on Friday whether the Jets authorize it or not.

Osemele said he went for a third opinion on his shoulder in Boston earlier this week, and the doctor recommended surgery. He said the report was sent to the Jets on Wednesday morning, and that he hadn’t heard anything from them yet.

“I’m just getting it done myself,” Osemele said inside the Jets locker room “I have to take care of my body, I have to take care of my health. I have a family. I have to take care of myself.

“I’m still not sure what the decision is, whether they’re going to authorize the surgery or not. But the decision is pretty much made.”

The Jets and Osemele are at odds about his condition in a bizarre situation that could come to a head soon.

The team doctors believe that the veteran left guard has a pre-existing condition that he can play through and he doesn’t need surgery at this time.

“The team’s position is I can play through this injury because I started the season playing with the injury,” Osemele said.

A second independent doctor had similar findings to the Jets doctor: surgery if symptoms indicate, Osemele said.

But Osemele, who said it hurts him to raise his right hand and get dressed, said the third doctor told him he has a labrum that’s “torn to the bone” and a huge cyst that need immediate attention.

The recovery is 4-to-6 months. If Osemele, 30, has arthroscopic surgery now, the former Pro Bowler could be ready for next season — somewhere else. He said “absolutely, 100 percent” the Jets will cut him.

The Jets informed Osemele last week they expected him to take part in practice or he would be fined. They began fining Osemele one game check or roughly $579,000.

“I’m not concer

ned about the money,” Osemele said. “I’m concerned about my health. I’ve made a lot of money in my career. I’m not one of those people who do [stuff] for money at this point in my life. My health is important.”

The players union has filed a grievance on Osemele’s behalf against the Jets for not authorizing surgery. Osemele said he was on a conference call with the union this week mapping out their plan.

He said “legally” a team can't deny a player surgery when “multiple doctors’ opinions” say he needs it, and called it “ethically and morally wrong.”

Osemele said when he told Joe Douglas a couple of weeks ago that he was having surgery, the Jets general manager “was upset.” Osemele said he hasn’t spoken to coach Adam Gase in weeks.

He also said there was an issue with the second opinion because the Jets had “difficulties putting together” the MRI and sent a blank one to the independent doctor.

“Douglas told me it was mistake, it wasn’t intentional or anything,” Osemele said. “It was blank. … It was eventually put together.”

The Jets had no comment.

The team acquired Osemele and a sixth-round pick from the Raiders for a fifth-round pick to bolster the offensive line. But Osemele was struggling and about to benched in favor of Alex Lewis.

It was around that time that Osemele informed the Jets he was going to have surgery, but he said it had nothing to do with his demotion.

“The decision was made before that even happened,” Osemele said. “That had nothing to do with it. Alex is my best friend on the team. It definitely had nothing to do with that.”

Osemele said it’s been “awkward” coming to the Jets facility and rehabbing amid this situation, and that some of his teammates have shown him support. But Osemele said it’s been difficult overall.

“You think there’s good faith,” he said. “I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t frustrating to be in this position considering what I’ve been able to accomplish in this league and the type of player that I am. To be going through something like this is slightly disrespectful. But it’s out of my control.”

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports