I don't know how your surgery/back problems relate to mine but I'm going to assume that they are somewhat similar. I had trouble training, walking, sitting, sleeping... living. I had severe nerve impingement, sciatic pain and massive leg pain on both sides all the way down to the foot. However, it did give me a good excuse to fly first class...I just told me wife I needed more room. More room for free alcohol.
The most important thing to understand when training athletes is the difference between G.P.P and S.P.P. Also, it's important to understand that mastery in a specific discipline does not mean mastery in weight training. In fact, it is usually the opposite; master of one thing, beginner of another. This is very lucky for you, whether you are a coach or an athlete. What this means is that you don't need advanced or fancy training methods to achieve results. Besides the huge pile of dung that is "sport specific training", the misunderstanding of training mastery by elite athletes is ruining training.
Dorian Yates' back is the centerpiece of his insane, freaky physique, and the Yates row is one of the things he credits. Ed Coan's accomplishments in the powerlifting world have been well documented and if you've ever seen Ed in person, you know he's one of the thickest people to ever set foot in a weight room. And his 900-pound deadlift, to me, is the single-most impressive deadlift feat.
Now that I've satisfied all the barbell row zealots, the exercise does have its drawbacks. This is especially true for a lifter that's made significant progress in the squat and deadlift.
Answer: I did this for a year as a job. I lifted 4 days/week and ran hills 4 days/week. You’ll be fine. First week sucks but you’ll adapt. Quick tucking it and let it swing.