Don’t expect others to return like Peterson
by Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY Sports
Adrian Peterson’s run through the NFL last season on a reconstructed knee is inspiration to others coming off similar surgeries. But doctors say it’s no guarantee of a similar type and time of recovery .
“Adrian Peterson came back so well that in some ways it gives people somewhat unrealistic expectations,” says Andrew Pearle, orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
The Minnesota Vikings running back returned less than nine months after surgery ACL and MCL surgery to rush for 2,097 yards, 13 shy of the single-season record, and lead his team the playoffs for which he was named the league’s MVP.
“For every Adrian Peterson who comes back like he has, there are lots of athletes who struggle the first year,” Pearle says. “It doesn’t mean they’re not working hard. … But that’s an example of somebody who came back in a very, very remarkable way. We hope for recoveries like that. We don’t always get it.”
Multiple variables play roles. If the injured athlete has had the inner-knee ligament known as the ACL replaced by a graft, what other knee damage did they have? How well and how quickly do the important muscles of the thigh regain their strength?
But there first question is always how soon will they be back? Now, it’s can they come back as Peterson did?
“It’s such a hot subject because of Adrian’s extraordinary success,” says Leon Popovitz, orthopedic surgeon and co-founder of New York Bone & Joint Specialists.
But, he adds, “A lot of people end up returning six months to 12 months later and not being at their ideal, peak level until sometime the season afterwards, after the 12-month period.”
Several high-profile athletes have sustained ACL injuries recently.
Recovering from knee reconstructions following injuries during the last football season are quarterback Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins and University of South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore.
Lindsey Vonn, Olympic skiing champion, underwent surgery this week for knee damage sustained in a crash this month in Austria. Nerlens Noel, the University of Kentucky’s freshman basketball sensation, went down this week with an ACL … [For more on Don't count on others to comeback like Peterson did, click here.]