The pesky achilles tendon. This past weekend saw another rookie RB go down with a serious, season-ending injury. Seriously, can we please catch a break in dynasty leagues? The good news is that D’Onta Foreman is coming off of his best performance as a pro. The bad news is that his injury will keep him out for the remainder of the year. Here is what you need to know to help gauge your evaluation in keeper and dynasty leagues.
The achilles tendon runs down the backside of your lower leg connecting the calf muscles to the heel. It is directly responsible for pushing off your feet when running, jumping, and cutting – all things that are pretty important to an NFL running back. When this tendon is ruptured, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBSKDT0XKLw ) you lose those abilities until surgery and the following rehabilitation have been completed. So how long does this take?
When an athlete has a complete tear of their achilles, the most common route is surgical repair of the ruptured tendon. Rehab usually starts around 2-4 weeks post op, and it is a lengthy process improving strength, range of motion, power, and eventually sports specific movements that lasts about 9-12 months.
Likelihood of Recurrence
Interestingly enough, very few achilles ruptures have symptoms prior to injury. The good part is that re-injury of the repaired tendon is fairly uncommon (2-15%), with the greatest risk of re-rupture being during the second and third months of recovery. The bad news is that most athletes suffering this injury have long-term impairments in strength and performance no matter what treatment approach is applied. If D’Onta has pain at 3 months post-op or is falling behind during his rehabilitation protocol performance, that prolongs the return to sport time frame.
Effect on Performance
The greatest areas of concern with recovery would be limitations in strength, endurance, and explosiveness. Unfortunately, a study from 2009 concluded by Parekh et al indicated that about 50% of football players noticed a reduction in performance with 30% never returning to professional play. For those that do return to play after this injury, you can expect lower statistical production, playing time, and an overall decline in performance. Think Arian Foster and Branden Oliver.
Notable NFL players that have returned from this injury include Derrick Johnson, Arian Foster, and Branden Oliver. None of these guys have been quite the same following this injury. BOTTOM LINE: There have been some success stories like Terrell Suggs, but this injury is particularly devastating for a position that requires explosiveness, strength through contact, and quick change of direction to avoid defenders.