Takkarist McKinley to have shoulder surgery, says he'll miss 4-6 months

ByJeff Legwold ESPN logo
Saturday, March 4, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS -- UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley, one of the most highly rated edge rushers in this year's NFL draft, said he will have surgery on a troublesome right shoulder injury Monday and his recovery time will be "four to six months."

McKinley said Saturday at the scouting combine that he will do all of the drills in Indianapolis, including the bench press Saturday as well as the on-field workout for the defensive linemen on Sunday. McKinley, a fast riser in the pre-draft evaluation who had 10 sacks last season, said he's played with the injury for almost two seasons, but that the extent of it was discovered in recent weeks.

"My agent asked if anything was wrong with me, and I said I had a shoulder that was sometimes bothering me," McKinley said. "I had an MRI and the doctor was pretty much amazed I had played with it. Me, I just told my trainers at UCLA, 'Just tape me up I'm ready to go.'

"Why get surgery before the combine? This is a dream come true to me. I'm here to knock it out."

McKinley was a projected first-round pick in ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.'s mock draft last month and was rated as the top outside linebacker prospect according to ESPN's Todd McShay.

McKinley said he was told he had a torn labrum in the shoulder as well as a fracture in the shoulder "socket." He added he suffered the injury in the Bruins' 2015 game against Arizona State and has played with it since.

"One of my teammates, I was going for the tackle, hit me directly on the shoulder and ever since then I've never felt right," McKinley said. "I just played through it, I'm not the type to complain. Sometimes it would bother me .... This is really nothing to me. If it was up to me, I wouldn't even get the surgery. But as far as me being in the NFL, being healthy, it's best just to knock out this combine."

McKinley had 18 tackles for loss this past season with 61 tackles overall. He weighed in at 250 pounds at the combine, and many teams see him as a fit as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense or outside linebacker in a 3-4 look.

A four- to six-month recovery period would mean McKinley will miss a team's offseason program and possibly training camp if it takes a full six months before he is cleared to play. But McKinley said he expects no long-term effects and that "once I get this done and get healthy, I'll be good to go."