Training Room: Injury Updates on David Wilson, Broyles, Hoyer, Bradford & Dobson
Training camp is right around the corner, and all of a sudden we are only about 2 months away from meaningful NFL football games again! The hope from a physical therapist and every healthcare professional involved in the care of players is that everyone gets through training camp and the preseason injury free. I understand that this sounds unrealistic, but each player has worked extremely hard to get to this point. An unexpected injury can greatly alter a player’s opportunity to make a team, progress on the field, or impact the individual in numerous other ways.
Cervical Decompression with Fusion due to disc herniation: The vertebral disc is a thick, dense cartilage that sits between each vertebrae to help shock absorb and aid movement in the spine. When a disc herniation occurs, some of the disc material can push out into the spinal canal, which puts abnormal pressure on the spinal cord or the spinal nerves that extend off the spinal cord. If severe enough, the prolonged protruding of that disc material can cause symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and weakness that can hinder athletic and normal daily tasks. Wilson had a cervical fusion procedure done on January 16th to remove the disc material that was causing his symptoms, and had a plate and screw inserted to stabilize that joint segment to prevent further degenerative changes.
Bottom Line: Although Wilson didn’t get clearance for contact drills earlier this month, it seems that at some point doctors will give him the green light. Wilson has reported no issues during his rehab process so far which is great, but he has not had contact to the head/neck yet, so there are no guarantees. The amount of strain on the body an NFL running back endures throughout a season is extensive, so it will be tough to compare Wilson’s recovery to other players who have recently had the same surgery. With Rashad Jennings plenty capable of being a feature back for the Giants, in addition to Peyton Hillis and Andre Williams, expectations for Wilson this year should be tempered.
ACL Repair: The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is the main ligament in the knee that helps prevent rotational/twisting motions, and prevents the lower leg from moving excessively on the upper part of the leg. Bradford had surgery to repair his torn ACL last June.
Bottom Line: Bradford hasn’t exactly been the poster boy of health since entering the NFL in 2010. He dealt with nagging injuries and then tore his ACL in Week 7 of last year. Bradford will be 10 months removed from his surgery, and as many quarterbacks have shown after returning from an ACL repair, there is an adjustment period of being able to trust the knee. Throwing on the run, scrambling away from pressure, and especially for a pocket passer like Bradford, being able to stay in the pocket when players are falling around his leg are all things that he’ll have to get used to quickly. Time is running out on Bradford to show he can be a franchise QB, and with the Rams having enough weapons on the offensive side of the ball, the doubters will continue to grow if he can’t put it together this season.
Achilles Tendon Repair: The Achilles tendon is the main tendon in the back of your lower leg that connects your calf muscle to your heel. The primary job of the Achilles is to allow you to push off the ball of your foot and generate force when planting the foot into the ground. Broyles underwent surgery to repair the Achilles at the end of October of last season.
Bottom Line: Since 2011, Broyles has undergone 2 ACL repairs and an Achilles repair. That is extensive surgery, and even more extensive rehab during that short time frame. Odds are against Broyles to return to form, with heavy competition in Detroit behind Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. A study in 2006 looked at how long it took for players to return from an Achilles rupture, with the average time frame being 11 months. It’s going to take a strong showing from Broyles to make the roster, so keep an eye on him throughout training camp to see if he is in the Lions future plans. Matt Stafford did show confidence in him when Broyles was on the field, so if he does make the roster and earns WR3 snaps, Broyles could end up being a value in the later rounds of PPR drafts.
ACL Repair: See Sam Bradford. Hoyer underwent surgery in October of last year to repair his torn ACL.
Bottom Line: Hoyer will be about 11 months removed from his ACL surgery by the time Week 1 comes around. Like we’ve mentioned before in the training room, “normal” recovery time for ACL repairs is around 11 months for NFL players. Even though the Browns are continuing to say Hoyer is the starting QB when the season starts, the rumors continue to swirl that if Johnny Manziel continues to improve and learn the offense, that he’ll be given every chance to win the starting job. If somehow Hoyer does end up being the starter Week 1, he'll most likely be doing it without Josh Gordon, which will severely limit his upside. Don’t be fooled though, Johnny football will most likely be the Cleveland QB selected on draft day. We have Manziel ahead of Hoyer in our QB rankings, so it just shows how much JFF will continue to overwhelm talks in Cleveland.
Foot Surgery from non-healing stress fracture: Stress fractures are micro fractures in the bone that can lead to larger fractures if not treated or diagnosed right away. If a stress fracture is located and diagnosed, often times rest will allow proper healing of the bone. However, in certain instances when the fracture fails to heal due to the location of the fracture, or poor blood supply, invasive procedures can be done to help the bone heal properly. Dobson underwent surgery on the foot in March to repair the stress fracture. No details were revealed about the location of the stress fracture, or what procedure was done, but often times a surgeon will insert a pin into the area of the stress fracture to help stabilize the area to ensure proper bone healing.
Bottom Line: It seems that Dobson’s recovery from his foot surgery is going well as he hasn’t had any setbacks in his recovery so far. With Rob Gronkowski being questionable for the start of the season due to his ACL surgery, and Danny Amendola always being an injury risk, it could be a big year for Dobson if he can stay healthy and continue to work on his chemistry with Tom Brady. He’s the big, physical wide receiver the Patriots have lacked over the past few seasons, so keep an eye on Dobson later in your drafts. His ADP in 10-team and 12-team leagues is the 14th and 12th round, respectively.
Patellar Tendon Repair: The patellar tendon is the main tendon that attaches your quadriceps muscle (muscle in front of your thigh) to your lower leg. The primary job of the quadriceps is to help straighten the leg, with the patellar tendon absorbing the force from the quadriceps on the knee. Although there are many ways the patellar tendon can rupture, in most instances the rupture occurs due to a forceful eccentric load (when the muscles are trying to lengthen during a muscle contraction) on the tendon and then trying to immediate cut or change direction. Gibson had surgery at the end of October.
Bottom Line: Patellar tendon ruptures are pretty uncommon in the NFL, as a study in 2011 showed that only 24 ruptures were diagnosed in between 1994 and 2004. There haven’t been any studies that have shown whether or not players who undergo patellar tendon repairs return to pre-injury levels, but ruptures to the patellar tendon are a very difficult injury to recover from. The rehab is intense and long, with players potentially still having discomfort in the tendon after it has been repaired. With the Dolphins having Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Rishard Matthews, and newly drafted Jarvis Landry in their WR corps, Gibson is going to need to have a strong showing in training camp and pre-season to have any value this year. It's looking like a longshot.
1 Parekh SG, Wray WH, Brimmo O, et al. Epidemiology and outcomes of Achilles tendon ruptures in the National Football League. Presented at American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 73rd Annual Meeting, Chicago, March 2006