Missouri starting quarterback Brady Cook underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his throwing (right) shoulder on Thursday. The quarterback is expected to miss spring practice while rehabbing the injury.
Cook suffered the injury on Sept. 10 in the Tigers’ 40-12 defeat at the hands on Kansas State. The news was first broken by the St. Louis Dispatch’s Dave Matter.
Cook started in every remaining game on the schedule and rarely left the field due to injury. While the day he suffered the injury was likely his worst performance of the season (128 yards, 2 INTs), Cook appeared to only improve down the stretch of the season.
He finished with 220+ passing yards and 70+ rushing yards in all three of the team’s final regular season games. He ended with 2,719 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season.
So, now we have to look back as fans and reevaluate Cook’s 2022 campaign, at least moderately.
Suffering an injury to a throwing shoulder, regardless of how painful it may have been, alters how a quarterback would play. Cook clearly never let it affect his willingness to run the ball, as he finished the season with 139 carries and 585 yards on the ground. He took plenty of big hits while doing so, and his legs certainly kept this team in plenty of games.
Just look at his 18-carry, 138 yard, one touchdown performance against Arkansas to close the regular season as a prime example of him grinding out a win with his legs despite risking big hits to his shoulder.
On top of that, you have to look at some of his many missed throws from this season. Can he blame all of the misses on having a bad shoulder? Probably not. Did it play a factor in some of those misses? More than likely.
Nobody can argue that Cook struggled in the passing game at many points this season, and it held this team back at times. However, we now have to keep in mind that we rarely, if at all, saw a 100 percent healthy Brady Cook in 2022. It was an injury that likely affected his throwing motion and comfortability on most occasions when he dropped back to pass.
Injury or not, however, Cook has a long way to go in terms of his development in the passing game. There was certainly more to his struggles than just being off due to a bad shoulder, as his accuracy and decision making still need to greatly improve.
However, at the bare minimum, the torn labrum nagged at him throughout the season. Some outside judgements of Cook may need to be altered now, at least until we see him play at a fully healthy level. After all, he played his best football at the end of the season and showed clear signs of improvement.
While he figures to be the starter in 2023 as of now, how quickly Cook is able to rehab and what new faces arrive on campus between now and the fall will determine his future as the starting quarterback in Columbia.