Returning from fractured larynx not really an option for Colts’ Henry Anderson

Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills throws over Henry Anderson #96 of the Indianapolis Colts during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 13, 2015 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The What if? was given brief consideration, then quickly discarded.

What if Henry Anderson wanted to return to the playing field after undergoing surgery last month to repair a fractured larynx? What’s the worst that could have happened?

It would hardly be breaking news for someone to come back shortly after some type of procedure.

Anderson smiled.

What might have happened?

“Death, maybe,’’ he said Wednesday with a nervous laugh. “That’s the worst (case scenario). That’s like the worst.

“It could have been so much worse.’’

Anderson suffered a fractured larynx Nov. 5 at Houston when he took an errant elbow to his throat from a Texans’ running back. At the time, it seemed like nothing out of the ordinary and he remained in the game.

“I felt something weird for a second,’’ he said, “but then felt normal. It started to hurt after the game.’’

The pain persisted the next day and a scan revealed the severity of the injury. Anderson had damage his larynx, the cartilaginous structure that protects the airway.

Surgery was required and returning before the end of the season was not a viable option. He was placed on the injured reserve list Nov. 9. Further injuring the larynx could have impacted Anderson’s ability to actually breathe.

“It needs to heal,’’ Anderson said. “I feel like I could do stuff normally with it, but if it gets hit again, if you don’t have solid cartilage protecting your airway, then . . . ’’

Well, you get the idea.

Injuries are nothing new to the Colts’ 2015 third-round draft pick. He dealt with an injury to his left ankle and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee midway through his rookie season. While still trying to regain his comfort level with the right knee last season, Anderson sustained a minor injury to the other knee.

It’s been this, that, something else. All players have something.

But a fractured larynx?

“It’s another battle wound,’’ Anderson said with a smile. “I didn’t think you could hurt your throat that bad. I thought it just got bruised and there was swelling. I thought I would be fine in a few days. I had guys tell me, ‘Yeah, I had that happen to me before and it goes away in a few days.’

“I thought, ‘OK, I’ll be good.’’’

Doctors informed Anderson the rarity of his injury. It’s normally associated with hockey players who are struck in the neck by an errant puck, or in car accidents when the seat belt impacts the neck area or – pre-airbags – when someone’s neck his the steering wheel.

“It’s definitely not something I thought you could injure,’’ Anderson said. “Apparently you can. I’ve learned a lot about it.’’

The injury brought an end to what was shaping up as a solid third season. In nine games, eight of them starts, Anderson had 22 tackles, two sacks and seven quarterback hits. He also blocked a field goal at Cincinnati.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.