What’s worse than a concussion?

The answer: Tibial Plateau Fractures. Marc Bulger has one, according to these tweets:

Jay_Glazer rams marc bulger was ? bc of a possible concussion. however, i’m reporting he now has a fracture in lower leg and is out 3-6 wks.

Adam_Schefter Rams QB Marc Bulger will miss three to six weeks after suffering a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg, the team announced today.

But according to the About.com guide to health and disease, this could be far more damaging than a 3-6 week injury.

A tibial plateau fracture occurs at the top of the shin bone, and involves the cartilage surface of the knee joint. Because these fractures occur around the knee joint, they must be treated differently than the tibial shaft fractures discussed previously.

When a fracture occurs into or around a joint surface, that joint is at high risk of developing arthritis due to the injury.

Recovery from a tibial plateau fracture can take several months. Because the cartilage surface of the joint is involved, the knee must be protected from weight until the fracture has healed. Most commonly patients will be allowed to move the knee joint, but not put weight on the leg for about three months. The exact length of time of limitations will vary on the fracture type and the amount of healing that takes place.

Typically, athletes have a faster recovery time than average humans, but Bulger has always appeared to fall closer to the “average” line than the “athlete” line. I can easily see him being done for the season, and perhaps as a Ram, after this injury. It also explains the glazed look and wildly misplaced throws on the team’s last drive. It takes some kind of guts and determination to take the field in this kind of pain.