In this case, I'm going to have to agree and disagree with a good friend and fellow blogger, Ty over at The Lions in Winter. I'm sure if you haven't read this piece I've seen too many places to properly credit the original finder in regards to recovery rates from ACL ruptures, you will now. The thing with any injury is that you are never the same - period. Where I take exception with Ty's take is that A. Brown of the Giants should be the case study to give us hope. While it is true that he could give an idea of the possibilites, there are other factors at play here that must be considered.
The foremost is NFL training and rehab facilities and trainers. Brown was not an elite college runner. He also, up until being the in the NFL, did not have that extra training to develop all the minor muscles in ways us amateurs miss. We bench press thinking it's upper body... but do we work the other severl hundred small muscles around the shoulders and back? Brown is not only coming back from injury, but benefitting from targeted, high level development and training. Over a two year period. For his job. These are things he did not have at near the same level -- meaning that this development is also tapping into untapped potential for burst, strength, speed that come from a focus on supporting muscle groups not just the primary ones. (although there was/is, I'm sure, plenty of work there too)
Of course, my same argument above is also what leads me to agree with Ty and that to say Leshure's careeer is over right now is just absurd. What we have to acknowledge is that it won't really start for one or two years. We won't see the final version of Leshure until the 2013 season, if we ever do. I just feel that he had less untapped potential than Brown as far as how developed physically he is -- in other words, he was already operating at a high level. Its more about can he get back there versus can he get there.
That same training facility, staff, and time most of all is something we must not underestimate in its impact. I'm going to quote an anonymous comment from Ty's Blog first:
Gang,In February I fell wrong on my shoulder and had to have surgery to fix my rotator cuff, a torn labrum, as well as a bone spur. I had the surgery in May and went to physical therapy a couple hours each morning at 5am three days a week for a month before heading off to work. At the end, I had okay strength back and near full mobility and was on my own. I'm still ever so slowly getting back into shape but its a rough road. I don't have near the strength or speed I had before the injury.
Don't want to be a "downer," but I know first hand about ruptured Achilles tendons. I completely ruptured my left Achilles in late 2009, had surgery, and endured 3 months of physical therapy (three times a week), etc. I'm back to playing basketball in the driveway, shagging fly balls, playing catch, hiking, etc. However, I don't think I will ever be 100% again. The range of motion isn't the same, I have to stretch all the time, and am unable to push off the same as before the injury. Granted, I never went beyond HS athletics, but I can't see anyone being the same after this injury.
Does this mean Matthew Stafford wasn't going to recover from his ifseason shoulder sugery? How is he doing so well? The difference is in the treatment.
I went 3 days a week for 2 hours to a physical therapy location. For one month. Matthew Stafford worked with multiple trainers doing shoulder and full upper body rehab and strengthening for 5 1/2 hours each day. For 3 months.
Starting to see the diffence?
This is their occupation, and Leshoure as a second round pick will have one full time job: healing and rehabilitiation. With sometimes more than one on one training/trainers. On the best equipment. For more hours in his first week than most of us regular joes would get total.
When it comes to injury and recovery, we can't compare our buddies ACL tear, or Achilles injury, or shoulder surgery outcome to what it will be for an NFL player. Will Stafford stay healthier now that he has strengthened and worked on all the little extra muscles I started to learn about in my short therapy window that should make him stronger and more durable? Only time will tell.
In regards to Leshoure, the only way to know whether or not he can recover is time. However, no matter the spin we like to put on it multiple sources say that a return to full power after an achilles injury simply does not happen. Not unless other factors (better training in the case of Brown) are helping compensate for what was lost fromt he injury. The real question is not will Leshoure come back -- When he comes back will he be enough of the back he was to be back in the backfield for the Lions? IF...