GREEN BAY, Wis. (Aug. 17, 2005) -- Brett Favre has a chronic hip condition that almost prevented him from being traded to the Green Bay Packers 13 years ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Favre and former Packers general manager Ron Wolf said Aug. 16 at training camp that the three-time NFL MVP was diagnosed in 1992 with avascular necrosis, a condition that can lead to hip replacement surgery.
"It's a lack of blood supply to a socket," Favre told the newspaper. "To this day, it bothers me from time to time, but before the draft I did MRIs for Atlanta, I did MRIs for Seattle, went through all kind of evaluations at the combine. A lot of teams were apprehensive because of that."
Favre said he hurt his hip in the East-West Shrine game, and the condition is the same as the one that afflicted former football and baseball star Bo Jackson.
Favre was drafted by Atlanta and spent his first season as a backup there before Wolf engineered the trade on Feb. 10, 1992, that brought him to Green Bay in exchange for a first-round draft pick.
Favre said that when he arrived in Green Bay, the Packers examined him and predicted he would suffer from avascular necrosis and would soon feel effects of it. According to Favre, he failed the physical, but Wolf told the medical staff to pass him.
"The prognosis on avascular necrosis is at some point you're going to have to have a replacement or it's going to have to be treated," Favre said. "I don't have as much flexibility in that socket, but you're kind of rolling the dice. They said I wouldn't play three or four years. Obviously they were wrong and Ron was willing to take that risk."
Wolf said that the team doctor at the time, Clarence Novotny, recommended flunking Favre on his physical. But he said Novotny was not an orthopedist, so he had surgeon Patrick McKenzie, now the team doctor, examine Favre. Wolf said McKenzie told him that in four or five years Favre could have some problems with his hip, but there was no danger of it deteriorating immediately.
"This is the guy I wanted," Wolf said. "They said four or five years, I didn't care. It turned out there wasn't anything wrong with him."