Jimmy Graham's injury (patellar tendon) 'worst when it comes to rate of return'

During a recent podcast, ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell explained why it's so difficult to come back from patellar tendon ruptures.

"It's this big tendon that anchors your quad, that large muscle in the front of your thigh, to your shin," she said. "So when it ruptures, essentially you incapacitate your quad. That's why guys go down in a heap when the injury happens."

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in 2014. Last season, he was sidelined by a calf injury, but Bell noted that the issues could have been connected.

"If you look at what Victor Cruz said later in the season, he said, 'I believe that calf injury came from me compensating always having that leg -- because it was on the opposite side -- had to do all the work while I was recovering from the patellar tendon injury,'" Bell said.

"A study just published in June of this year in the American Journal of Sports Medicine looked at orthopedic procedures on over 550 NFL athletes," Bell said. "And of all the different surgeries that these guys have, those who fared the worst when it comes to rate of return to play and performance metrics like yards gained and touchdowns scored, [it was] patellar tendon repair.

"And their careers were shortened overall significantly. It's not to say that one individual can't come back and be phenomenal, but it's telling you that the odds are against them in terms of returning to form."

Fantasy Impact: 

Through the first 12 weeks, Graham was the #9 tight end in both standard and PPR formats. It was disappointing production given his history as a top fantasy threat, and now he has to recover from a torn patellar tendon injury. If he's healthy for training camp, we expect that he'll be one of the first 10-12 tight ends off the board on draft day, but that’s looking like a "big if."

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