Aug 3 2012
As #CardsCamp starts to wind down and preseason games are on the horizon, the focus begins to shift from conditioning and play installation into depth charts and on-the-field performances. Yet, it is the injury report that remains the most important information that we all tend to scour over following each and every practice. Knock on wood, but our Arizona Cardinals have been fairly healthy thus far (with the exception of a recovering Beanie, a bruised Kolb, and an injured Zack Nash), so my first contribution is going to focus on those important players that are returning to the field after suffering injuries during the 2011 season. Hit the jump to find out what we can expect from them, and when we can expect it.
Ryan Williams (ruptured patellar tendon):
Lil’ Sweetness has impressed so far in training camp, much like he was doing last year before he ruptured his patellar tendon on his first carry in the 3rd quarter against Green Bay. What exactly is the patellar tendon, anyway? And how is his rehab going to effect his performance on the field this season?
I’m glad you asked! The patellar tendon is an extension of the quadriceps tendon that crosses over the patella (kneecap), and inserts into the tibia just below the knee. It is most commonly injured in a traumatic fashion, generally with a forced eccentric contraction with the knee bent and the foot planted, much like the way Ryan’s occurred when he was tackled from behind. Since knee extension (straightening your leg) is the primary function of the quad, it makes it difficult to control the knee when standing and walking, much less running and cutting, when the patellar tendon is injured. Surgery is required fairly early on following the injury, and rehab begins within 2 weeks to start the long, grueling process of strengthening the knee back to health. The estimated rehab time is usually around 12 months before a return to sport is feasible, though it is not a concrete timeframe. Rather, the tell-tale sign that a return to the field is near, is when the strength and endurance of the involved leg reaches 85%-90% of the uninvolved leg, and the patient shows good quad control to support the knee. Ryan Williams has obviously passed this test earlier than expected, as he has participated a good amount in training camp already, and we have seen him make some pretty amazing cuts considering he is less than a year out from the original injury. Needless to say, I believe we see a HUGE return to form this year, as his knee appears to be stable and strong enough to handle the rigors of an NFL season.
Greg Toler (ACL tear):
Last years de facto starting CB was supposed to step up in a big way to fill the hole left when DRC and a 1st round pick were traded away for Kolb. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it to the regular season, as he tore his ACL against the San Diego Chargers in the 3rd preseason game. To get an idea of how his injury occurred, take a look at this article I posted in the ROTB fanpost section shortly there after. Normal recovery from ACL reconstruction surgery is 9-12 months, which puts Toler right on schedule as the 2012 preseason inches closer and closer.
So why haven’t we heard very much about Toler yet? My guess is solely due to the depth the Cardinals suddenly have at CB. From the videos I have seen thus far, he looks pretty fluid out there, if not a little apprehensive in and out of his breaks. The depth in the secondary is going to be a great thing for Toler this year, as he will have a chance to regain confidence in his recovering knee without having to worry about getting burned too much. And once that comes to be, I hope you are as excited as I am to see how Horton utilizes his physical style at the CB position this year!
Adrian Wilson (torn biceps tendon):
In case you did not remember, A-dub partially tore his biceps tendon during training camp last summer. It is easy to forget that this occurred, mainly because he continued to play like A-dub for the majority of the year. To be honest, even when this was first was reported, I was not too worried about the outcome. Bicep tendon tears are actually a decently common occurrence, and several research studies have shown that (to my surprise as well), on average, patients with torn biceps tendons do not lose more than 10% of their strength in regards to elbow flexion. Therefore, the only worry one would have for his performance level, is how he tolerated the pain that he would no doubt experience during games. Seeing how 2-4 is a ridiculously strong and tough human being, I had faith that he would be fine for the season, and my faith was rewarded.
Going into this year, it is almost scary to think what a healthy Adrian Wilson is going to do in Ray Horton’s defense.
With last year’s injuries out of the way, and the Hall of Fame game just a couple of days away, here’s hoping that I do not have much to write in this column on a weekly basis. That being said, it is a long, physical season in the National Football League, and there will no doubt be injuries that occur on this roster; it is my hope that I am able to educate and inform, in depth, all our readers on the various bumps and bruises encountered during the 2012 season.