The Buffalo Bills announced Monday that Lawson, the 19th overall pick in last month's draft, will undergo surgery on his right shoulder on Tuesday. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Lawson will likely begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list. It's possible he will remain with that designation to start the regular season, a move that could cost him nearly half his rookie year.
The decision to undergo surgery was made after Lawson had "an occurrence of the condition" last week. The Bills are calling the surgery a preventive measure that should correct the issue moving forward.
"I want to take this opportunity to commend Shaq Lawson and his representatives for putting the team first by having this surgery on his shoulder done now," Bills general manager Doug Whaley said in a statement released by the team. "By doing so, he's forsaking personal goals to be 100 percent healthy when we will need him most during the regular season. Fans constantly hear us say that we want players with tremendous character who keep team goals ahead of personal ones and Shaq is a great example of this."
NFL Media reported last month that Lawson had his shoulder flagged at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. Lawson said after the draft that he didn't believe he'd need a surgery to correct the injury, which he played through during his final season at Clemson. Lawson played in all 41 games during his three-year run with the Tigers.
The Bills are spinning this situation in a predictably optimistic manner, but the bottom line is that Lawson's rookie season has turned into an uphill climb. He'll have to get right physically and learn the pro game quickly without the benefit of offseason and training camp preparation. This is a setback with the potential to leave a large void on Rex Ryan's defense.
Lawson wasn't the only injury announced Monday, wideout Sammy Watkinssuffered a small broken bone in his foot, Rapoport also reported.