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NFLPA Announces it Will Defend OL Kelechi Osemele in Dispute

The injury saga between the Jets and offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele continues.

The NFL Players Association issued a statement in support of Osemele on Thursday, vowing to defend him against the team as he prepared for Friday surgery on his injured right shoulder, Andy Vasquez of reports.

Osemele says he can no longer play through the pain in his shoulder and needs immediate surgery. The Jets believe Osemele is capable of continuing to play because he has been dealing with the injury since before the season began, according to a source.

“Our union supports every player’s right to a second medical opinion, workers’ compensation and the best medical care,” the NFLPA posted on Twitter. “It is not appropriate or ethical for employees in any line of work to dictate the medical care and treatment of any employee. We are considering all options to protect Kelechi Osemele, as we would for any of our players.”

Osemele said Wednesday that the Jets have yet to approve his request for surgery, which he made weeks ago. Last Friday, Osemele was adamant he needed surgery after he said two doctors told him he needed surgery – a source said the Jets’ belief is that the need for surgery was not immediate and that Osemele’s situation had not changed since the start of the season.

Wednesday, Osemele said that Tuesday he got a third opinion from a doctor who said surgery was needed immediately. Late Wednesday night, Osemele posted a letter from that Boston-area doctor.

“After careful review of medical records, diagnostic imaging and after evaluating him myself, it is of my medical opinion that Kelechi should undergo a right shoulder arthroscopy, labral repair and cyst debridement,” Dr. Glenn Ross wrote. “Kelechi has a posterior/inferior labral tear and a large cyst. I am more than happy to perform this procedure pending authorization.”

Jets coach Adam Gase declined to comment on the Osemele situation Thursday for the second time this week. He said he hasn’t been involved with the situation and that he’s focused on coaching the team.

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