Achilles injury may jeopardize Peters' career

Achilles injury may jeopardize Peters' career
March 31, 2012, 3:37 pm
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Jason Peters Achilles injury may not only threaten his 2012 season. According to noted physician Dr. Mark Schwartz, it may jeopardize his career.

Schwartz, appearing on Daily News Live on Friday, said recent medical studies show that many NFL players who suffer a ruptured Achilles tendon are never able to return to football.

Peters, a five-time Pro Bowl left tackle, will undergo surgery Tuesday in Philadelphia after rupturing his Achilles while working out near his home in Texas (see story).

This is definitely a devastating injury to any NFL player, said Schwartz, co-director of Virtua Hospitals sports medicine program. Theyve done some good studies on this particular injury in the NFL and the sad part is only two-thirds of NFL players sustaining Achilles tendon ruptures actually got back into the game, so one-third of NFL players who sustain this type of injury were not able to return back.

Of those who did return back, the average length of recovery was almost 11 months prior to returning, with a minimum of seven months ... and unfortunately those who did get back, there was a decrease ... in their ability to perform on the field. So this is a significant injury to a player in the NFL, especially an offensive lineman who weighs 330 pounds and relies on the explosiveness of his legs and his feet.

Former Eagle wide receiver Todd Pinkston, who led the NFL in yards per catch in 2004, suffered a ruptured Achilles in training camp in 2005 and never played again.

NFL opening day is a little more than five months away. The playoffs are scheduled to start on Dec. 29, which is nine months away.

Peters injury appears to be similar to Ryan Howards torn Achilles, suffered on the last play of the Phillies 2011 season. The Phillies hope Howard returns in June, which would be eight months out from his injury.

But Schwartz said there are complications that could make that fast a return impossible for somebody of Peters size -- 6-foot-4, 330 pounds.

Part of the difference is the size and the bulk of these NFL players, particularly an offensive lineman who weighs 330 pounds, and all that weight is being transmitted down the body, down the legs, Schwartz said.

And also, when you play offensive line, theres a lot of explosiveness. Each play, youre coming up, youre coming out and youre putting forth right down on that leg, as opposed to baseball, where you dont have that exact explosiveness and power coming off the lower extremities continually after each play.

Schwartz said there are other factors that could hinder Peters rehab and slow down his return, among them, disc issues, wound healing and seromas -- an accumulation of fluid that often occurs following surgery.

Were going to keep our fingers crossed and hope he doesnt have some of those problems, Schwartz said. And if he can avoid some of these potential complications ... optimistically, youre looking at toward the end of the regular season. And even when he does come back, its hard to imagine him coming back at his previous level right away.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com

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