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What's a Labrum? Lineman Jake Long Finds Out the Hard Way

MIAMI - OCTOBER 12: Offensive lineman Jake Long #77 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after a touchdown by Ronnie Brown #23 against the New York Jets at Land Shark Stadium on October 12, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Jets 31-27. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Jake Long  Miami Dolphins
Offensive lineman Jake Long looks victorious a month before he injured his labrum. (Doug Benc/Getty Images)


(CBS) If you're a sports fan, here's the news you know: Pro Bowler Jake Long of the Miami Dolphins dislocated his shoulder and injured his labrum during Sunday's victory over the Tennessee Titans, according to ESPN.

What you might not know, is what on Earth a labrum is. Certainly the web was fired up Monday night with searches for the term. So, here's the answer.

The labrum is a rim of soft fibrous tissue that surrounds the socket of the head of the upper arm bone.

Because of the sorts of things that can occur so frequently on the field - like falling on an outstretched arm, receiving a direct blow to the shoulder, violent reaches, and repetitive shoulder motion - football players are particularly vulnerable to injuring the labrum.

If the tear is minor, doctors say anti-inflammatory medication and time out for rehabilitation therapy may be enough to get the left tackle back onto the field. If not, surgery may be needed.

Long has not ruled out playing Thursday night against the Chicago Bears, but sources expressed doubt to ESPN.

Labrum injuries can be quite serious. Carolina Panthers quarterback Matt Moore injured the labrum in his throwing shoulder last week, requiring season-ending surgery.

But who knows? Jones did play the first month of the season with a sprained MCL in his knee, leading many to ask: what on Earth is an MCL.

Short answer: a ligament that helps stabilize the knee.