Two decades years ago when an athlete tore his anterior cruciate ligament he was out for well over a year. Nowadays, athletes are back in mere months roaring and ready to go. It goes to show that ACL injuries have come a long ways.
Growing up I remember hearing that an ACL injury in the 1970s pretty much meant the end of your career. Then in the 1990s it was about a year to 18 months, but now it’s well under a year.
The 2012 National Football League season showed how fast athletes are coming back from ACL injuries. On December 26th, 2011 Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tore his ACL and MCL. Just eight months later Peterson was back and didn’t miss one regular season game of the 2012 season.
Peterson not only rushed for 1,000 yards for that season he also broke the 2,000 yard barrier as he finished the season with 2,097 yards rushing and rushed for 12 touchdowns. This feat not only earned him 2012 Offensive Player of the Year it also earned him NFL Most Valuable Player for 2012.
Now, that isn’t the only evidence that ACL injuries have come a long ways.
Last year there were five big ACL injuries. They were Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, Buffalo Bills tight end Scott Chandler, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons, Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing and New York Jets cornerback Darrel Revis.
Griffin’s injury was the most publicized out of the five. The reason is that after Griffin sprained his LCL in week 14 he still continued to play despite the team’s doctor James Andrews not clearing him. This would prove to be costly as Griffin further damaged the same knee sustaining ACL and LCL tears in a Wild Card loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Griffin had surgery on January 9th to repair both ligaments. According to the Washington Post, on Thursday Griffin showed off his progress as he was running and throwing on the side while his teammates practices.
That pretty much means Griffin will be ready for training camp when it opens in July which is only seven months after the injury.
Bills tight end Scott Chandler in week 16 of the regular season tore his ACL when he was making a cut after he caught a pass. Everyone who saw the game knew right away that Chandler tore his ACL. According to, Chandler was pushing it with a trainer after practice running routes.
“The knee feels really good,” Chandler said, still breathing heavily just 45 seconds removed from his work after practice. “I feel great. Running routes, you guys saw, I don’t know that it’s 100-percent but it’s better than most so I’m feeling good.”
Chandler was in such good spirits that he cracked a joke that he was channeling his inner Peterson.
“Yeah, I’ve been practicing my handoffs,” Chandler said. “You guys haven’t seen it. I’ve been taking them. Feeling good.”
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons tore his ACL in the Wild Card win over the Redskins. According to the Seattle Times, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll isn’t really sure when he will return, but knows he eventually will.
“Clem’s (Clemons) going to make it back,” Carroll said on Monday. “We won’t know about him for a while. We will have to figure that out when the time comes.”
As for Cushing, he should be back ready and go for training camp. Cushing tore his ACL on last October. It has been seven months since New York Jets guard Matt Slauson performed a rolling hit on him. According to Foxnews, Cushing on Monday said he is about back to normal.
“There haven’t been any setbacks,” Cushing said. “It’s felt great, I’m starting to feel like me again. That’s a hell of a feeling, considering how hard it was some mornings just to get up.”
Lastly, but surely not least, Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis tore his ACL in September. According to the Pewter Report, Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano stated that everything is gearing Revis ready for week one.
So, it goes to show that ACL injuries have come a long ways in two decades. Surely in another two decades there should be more improvements with ACL injuries.