Monday, November 20, 2006

The Dreaded ACL and what you can expect

Yes McNabb is done for the year.

I was asked to do a quick run down on what happened to 5 and what it means to blow your ACL and what he and fans can expect in the upcoming months and more importantly, next season.

Your ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is a major stabilizer of the knee. Most experts will argue that it is THE major stabilizer of the knee. Regardless, you cannot play any kind of sport without one with any real success. With that said, it MUST be repaired through surgery. This is not an injury that will heal on its own, ever.

McNabb will go under the knife immediately, probably tomorrow or the next day. I am writing this with no knowledge of the plans, but am basing that on my experience with pro athletes that need this type of surgery.

The ACL surgeries of today are 1000 X better than those that were done just eight short years ago. This means, much less down time, much faster healing times and ultimately a better success rate of 5 getting back on the field by training camp. Rehab is aggressive and the athletic trainers, and docs will have him running in no time. The mistake that is made by the public is taking this news and figuring that he is good to go. Running is one small step in the healing process, so if you see that in the news, don’t be so quick to think he is all better.

The new ligament will most likely be from a cadaver’s (yes, from a dead guy) achillies tendon. The tendon is harvested in a way that makes it able to be used as a new ACL. Although the tissues are different…one being ligament and the new tissue being a tendon, the body is amazing in its ability to “change” the tendon to a ligament. Once that happens, most healing has taken place and things are looking good. The problem is that it takes many months for this conversion to take place. Tendons are forgiving tissues and ligaments are not. It does someone no good to have a springy tendon where a rigid ligament should be. How long for this conversion? 8-12 months in most healthy people. Running, jumping, and lifting weights in a controlled manner are all possible and encouraged during this transformation, but the chaos of full contact football where cutting, is a must, can’t happen until much later. Besides, strength, speed, agility and conditioning must all get back to the same level they were before. That takes time and a good rehab program

Ultimately, the question is, “Will he be the same as he was before?” That is always impossible to answer, but based on the amount of these injuries that I have seen, I would have to say yes, or almost. Everyone is different and he is in pretty good shape physically (disregard my last post about his cardio condition) so healing and recovery to normal is possible. Carson Palmer had the same injury and the same surgery. The problem that I usually see is that the person will be “gun shy” for a bit when they come back. But most pro’s get over that quickly. I have been personally involved with about 8 ACL rehabs with athletes over the past 4 years and with all of those athletes they were able to return the next year with not much trouble at all…and these were high school kids.

Will McNabb be the same QB he was before the injury? I think so. I think he will get back to where he was, at least from a physical point of view. The injury is serious, but surgical techniques are the best they have ever been and as long as there are no other complications, he should be right back where he was before. But with that said, he may be just a bit slower, and in the pro's that could mean all the difference.

The real question is: Do we want him to be back where he was before, or maybe a little better than he was before?



Blogger Paulomon Grundy said...

Thanks Scoot. Interesting that they use a dead guy's part to help patch him up. Weird. Not sure if I'd want that for myself, but hey, if I was getting paid $10MM, I might.

Anyway, I don't know much about this injury or healing process and certainly you're the expert in this category. However, my observations from watching guys recover from this type of surgery over the years is the following:

* Guys in positions who depend on their legs take 2 seasons to get back to "normal". Edgerrin James for instance wasn't the same player the season following his injury, and he had a whole year to recover. He pretty much recovered to 100% the 2nd season, but really was never quite the same. Plus, he was still very young when it happened.

* Younger guys seem to bounce back quicker, so people like Edge or Carson Palmer might be ready to go, while someone like McNabb, who is 30 might have a longer go of it.

We're already into the second half of this season, so my prediction is that most of next season will be a bust for him. I would think he would return return full- strength the following season, but at that point, he'll be pushing 32 years old. Although 32 isn't old, it may be a little older than we want for a guy like McNabb who is a mobile QB and isn't the best pocket passer as it is.

If I were D-Mac, I would spend this time off becoming a student of the game like Peyton and working on his pocket presence. He's gonna need it if he's going to wear a ring in Philly. I feel really bad for him - he's worked hard over the years and I thought he would win us a Super Bowl. I don't feel that way now though. It's over for him and the window for a Super Bowl has shut in Philly (2 seasons ago in fact).

Time to get a new QB and re-build this whole thing over. Maybe next time when we're the class of the NFC like we were 2-4 seasons ago, we'll take advantage of it and load up the team with talent to go for the Ring and not try making Super Bowl runs with the likes of Thrask, Pinkston, Mahe, etc.

In short: Philly sports suck!

11/20/2006 11:48 AM  
Blogger KES said...

Agree with you in part...its much harder for high level athletes to return to TOP form after those injuries, but they can do it. Most of it is up to McNabb and his rehab team..where ever that may be.

I also agree that he will have to become a better QB to make this adjustment. Maybe it will work out for him.

11/20/2006 1:49 PM  
Blogger Dave Popstar said...

Hey, we don't even need him. The opening line has come out, and the Colts are only favored by 11. I can't believe anyone in Vegas thinks this team can keep them from beating us by more than 11. It's the Colts in Indy, right after their first loss of the season... And like I mentioned before, Payton has always had our number. (Then again, seems like every team has figured us out now like a played-out Mario Bros. Nintendo game). If they were going to sit Manning, I might think it was a reasonable line.

11/20/2006 6:00 PM  
Blogger Paulomon Grundy said...

Yeh, I'm having flashbacks to last year's loss to the Seahawks.

11/20/2006 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who doesnt have the Eagle's Number

11/20/2006 10:46 PM  
Blogger Dave Popstar said...

Green Bay.

But that's it.

11/20/2006 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wanna talk about the guys in Vegas? Just check out how WRONG they have been in picking spreads in favor of the Eagles this year...

11/21/2006 3:17 PM  
Blogger Dave Popstar said...

I'll do you one better. HOGE picked the Birds at least twice this season (and we lost both).

Hmmm... Maybe he has something to do with this?

11/21/2006 3:39 PM  

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