Orthopedics: The $400,000 Knee

There was relatively little wrong with Joseph William Namath, 21, when he checked into Manhattan's Lenox Hill Hospital last week. But there was a great deal more than usual riding on the routine surgery that was scheduled for repair of the torn cartilage in his right knee. By signing an unprecedented three-year contract with the poised and polished quarterback from the University of Alabama, the New York Jets had bet $400,000 that surgery was capable of undoing the damage done by football to one of the weakest and most vulnerable joints in the human body.

In an early October game...

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