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Typical time of return from ruptured Achilles is 11 months

mathispeters Getty Images

In the 24 hours since the Eagles announced that left tackle Jason Peters suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, there’s been plenty of speculation about whether he’ll be able to play in 2012. It’s too early to say what the prognosis is for Peters, who will undergo surgery on Tuesday. But if Peters is like the typical NFL player who suffers a ruptured Achilles, he won’t see the field until 2013.

Dr. Mark Schwartz provided some bad news for Eagles fans to CSNPhilly.com, calling a ruptured Achilles tendon a career-threatening injury, and saying that if Peters has the typical time of recovery, he wouldn’t be able to play football again until at least a month after next year’s Super Bowl.

“Of those who did return back, the average length of recovery was almost 11 months prior to returning, with a [minimum] of seven months,” Schwartz said. “[Of] 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.”

Schwartz said about one-third of NFL players who suffered ruptured Achilles tendons never played in the NFL again, although it’s possible that many of those were marginal players who weren’t good enough to make a roster, or older players who decided to retire rather than go through the grueling rehab needed to get back on the field after such a serious injury. Peters is a Pro Bowler who from all accounts will be ready, willing and able to rehab himself, but that’s going to take significant time.

Several NFL players suffered ruptured Achilles tendons during training camp and the 2012 regular season. Bengals cornerback Leon Hall suffered a ruptured Achilles in November; if he needs the typical 11 month recovery time he’d miss about the first five games of the 2012 regular season. Buccaneers running back Earnest Graham suffered the injury in late October; at 11 months he’d be expected to miss the first three games of 2012. Panthers linebacker Jon Beason suffered the injury at the start of the regular season, so he’d likely be ready to go for the preseason. Lions running back Mikel LeShoure suffered the injury at the start of training camp and is expected to be at full speed for training camp this year.

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37 Responses to “Typical time of return from ruptured Achilles is 11 months”
  1. gf2711 says: Mar 31, 2012 12:51 PM

    11 months?! Shawne Merriman is on year 3 of achilles recovery!

  2. broncobeta says: Mar 31, 2012 12:55 PM

    Demaryius “Optimus Prime” Thomas had a miraculous recovery and came back in about 8 months, but was also 23 years old at the time… and a Transformer.

  3. nyyjetsknicks says: Mar 31, 2012 12:57 PM

    Just thinking about rupturing my Achilles tendon makes me shudder. Incredible painful injury.

  4. nfl fan says: Mar 31, 2012 1:00 PM

    Typical time to win the Super Bowl if you’re the Eagles….never, still counting.

  5. bigshadetree says: Mar 31, 2012 1:03 PM

    “Now I’m done”

  6. phillyphever says: Mar 31, 2012 1:05 PM

    It’s kind of like what Ryan Howard is dealing with the Phillies (different sports I know, but Howard is a big guy like Peters). He’s taking a long time to get back on the field (and I’m really thinking he’s gonna miss the season). Big guys like those two take a lot longer to get over leg/foot injuries more than smaller-average sized players. Heck, I’m starting to think Peters’ career is gonna end because of this. When’s the last time a 30 year old LT came back from that injury? Answer: never.

  7. phillyphever says: Mar 31, 2012 1:07 PM

    broncobeta says: Mar 31, 2012 12:55 PM Demaryius “Optimus Prime” Thomas had a miraculous recovery and came back in about 8 months, but was also 23 years old at the time… and a Transformer.

    And about 80 pounds lighter than Peters. BTW, I’m thinking he’s gonna explode this year with Manning at QB.

  8. kgun80 says: Mar 31, 2012 1:08 PM

    Good work ethic.. Proper care.. Taking care if yourself physically.. Being prepared for the rigors and having the effort to be a top of the line performer … Things Peters has never accomplished… Everyone has talent in the NFL.. it’s the effort that separates the good from the Great.. And Peters exhibits a lack of all the necessary work ethic to be a great player

  9. bigshadetree says: Mar 31, 2012 1:16 PM

    For a left tackle, Achilles is the base for stance and blocking leverage, add 300 lbs to that base and Philly better start looking for a replacement yesterday, he’s done… sad but true

  10. andyreidisfat says: Mar 31, 2012 1:17 PM

    Peters will be back but might not be with the birds. I still think they go tackle in the first round

  11. 4thanddone says: Mar 31, 2012 1:28 PM

    Obviously some players never return to their pre-injury state, but Steve Smith (of Carolina) rehabbed and didn’t lose a step. In fact, he believes he came back faster than before.

  12. qdog112 says: Mar 31, 2012 1:28 PM

    Tekeo Spikes has played several years before and after his surgery. I think his position(LB) is a good example of what to expect. I have had the surgery myself and can tell you that the surgically repaired Achilles is stronger that the other one. The structural dame is repaired and the only thing holding the players back, is the mental part. That is the biggest hurdle.

  13. mybrunoblog says: Mar 31, 2012 1:29 PM

    11 months for the average guy but far less for an NFL player who is used to pain, has best trainers on the planet and is payed a kings ransom to be on field playing not rehabbing.

  14. asw1028 says: Mar 31, 2012 1:33 PM

    just wanna get a feel for peoples opinions…Calvin Johnson is Megatron and D. Thomas is Optimus Prime…What about Stephen Hill—Bumble Bee or Starscream?

  15. lks311 says: Mar 31, 2012 1:35 PM

    If I’m Peters, I’m asking for Demaryius Thomas’ surgeon.

  16. diegiantsdie says: Mar 31, 2012 1:38 PM

    this just in. eagles trade a 7th round pick for browns left tackle joe thomas. you herd it here first.

  17. hamcamnewton says: Mar 31, 2012 1:39 PM

    I missed Jon Beason last season :/ I’m really hoping he can be back to his beastly ways soon

  18. davepol says: Mar 31, 2012 1:47 PM

    Speaking as someone who suffered a pretty serious achilles tear, let me say that it’s an absolute bitch of an injury. I used to run 3-4 marathons a year, now (3+ years later) I’m lucky to finish a 10K… and I “only” tore mine.

    In trying to return to running, I suffer pretty regularly from torn calf muscles, stress fractures, and the like… until I said f@ck it, and have pretty much given up on running altogether. It’s an injury that you never completely recover from.

    An achilles rupture is MUCH worse. Good luck, Jason Peters!

  19. jdandcoke says: Mar 31, 2012 1:49 PM

    see you in 2013 jason….september of 2013.

  20. briggsisbrokeagain says: Mar 31, 2012 2:01 PM

    I had achilles surgery on December 30, 2011 and I just completed 6 weeks of physical therapy and I sometimes walk with a limp and forget about running any time soon. The heel is still stiff, although the range of motion is much better and it doesn’t hurt that much untill you sit down for awhile, then it takes sevral minutes to loosen up. My doctor told me the recovery is really 6-9 months and after 1 year, wherever your foot recovery is at, that’s where it will stay. IMO no way he plays this year.

  21. justentertainingthestupid says: Mar 31, 2012 2:02 PM

    He’s done for the year, and may never be the same when he gets back.

  22. jenniferxxx says: Mar 31, 2012 2:06 PM

    If any team will rush him back it will be the Eagles.

  23. tcdeg says: Mar 31, 2012 2:07 PM

    @nyyjetsknicks

    I tore my Achilles in November, and it honestly didn’t hurt. It felt like someone threw a dodgeball and hit it, and that’s about it. I have also torn my patellar (sp?) tendon in my knee, which wasn’t painful either. However, after surgery the pain is excruciating.

  24. oldbyrd says: Mar 31, 2012 3:34 PM

    This is bad any which way. Peters is the best LT in football. His age and recovery weigh on the situation. Unfortunately for us….FORGET NEXT YEAR FOR JASON. The best to a star player.

  25. InFact says: Mar 31, 2012 3:44 PM

    “Peters is a Pro Bowler who from all accounts will be ready, willing and able to rehab himself, but that’s going to take significant time.”

    How do you know he’ll be able? — given the Dr.’s indication that 1/3 rd of players don’t make it back.

  26. oldlineman says: Mar 31, 2012 4:01 PM

    I played at South Dakota, blew out my knee, and also my achilles in half. At the time of injury the knee was much more painful. When my achilles blew out I thought my hamstring went, till I felt the tendon, it had pulled up my calf. Achilles was much harder to come back. That one did me in, I worried about it snapping again for years after.

  27. sjoyner59 says: Mar 31, 2012 5:01 PM

    Jason Peters is a hell of a tackle,the best in the NFL at his position…..I hope he comes back and plays next season

  28. kenny328usa says: Mar 31, 2012 5:50 PM

    I hope so too seth but i’m not too optimistic

  29. nflofficeadmin says: Mar 31, 2012 6:08 PM

    He may never be the same player

  30. darthhitman77 says: Mar 31, 2012 7:19 PM

    broncobeta says: Mar 31, 2012 12:55 PM

    Demaryius “Optimus Prime” Thomas had a miraculous recovery and came back in about 8 months, but was also 23 years old at the time… and a Transformer.

    What does he transform to and from exactly? LEMME GUESS, he goes from a donkey to a dumb @$$

  31. frankdatank23 says: Mar 31, 2012 10:13 PM

    did bronco fan just compare DT to Calvin Johnson ? somebody slap him ! good point, however.

  32. carolinapantherfan1984 says: Mar 31, 2012 11:19 PM

    4thanddone says: Mar 31, 2012 1:28 PM

    Obviously some players never return to their pre-injury state, but Steve Smith (of Carolina) rehabbed and didn’t lose a step. In fact, he believes he came back faster than before.
    ______________________________________

    Steve smith has never ruptured an achilles. Outside of a couple pulled hammies, hes only had a broken leg, a broken arm, and he split the webbing between his fingers.

  33. mostinterestingmanindaworld says: Apr 1, 2012 1:04 AM

    Demaryius Thomas is Bey Bey not Optimus Prime you have to earn a Tranformer/Decepticon name Like Calvin “Megatron” Johnson.

  34. mostinterestingmanindaworld says: Apr 1, 2012 1:08 AM

    almost forgot Roy Williams is Optimus that name has already been taking

  35. blackbug99 says: Apr 1, 2012 2:57 AM

    Human bones/and connective tissue never anticipated the age of NFL….where 300+ guys have to push them ligs and tendons…….I see no lawsuits for a demanding NFL performance…..Some rode scholarships and couldn’t pass an SAT…pushed on by parents who wanted a paycheck.

  36. feeltheroar says: Apr 1, 2012 12:09 PM

    A healthy Mikel LeShoure and Javid Best for the lions will make the lions one of the most feared offences this year.

  37. jgedgar70 says: Apr 3, 2012 3:27 PM

    4thanddone says: Mar 31, 2012 1:28 PM

    Obviously some players never return to their pre-injury state, but Steve Smith (of Carolina) rehabbed and didn’t lose a step. In fact, he believes he came back faster than before.
    _____

    The most serious injury Steve Smith has suffered was on opening night 2004 when a Packers defender horse-collar tackled him and broke his leg. He has also broken an arm playing flag football. He has never had an Achilles injury.

    I hope Beason comes back faster because he isn’t a 300-pound lineman. This report strikes fear in me that he won’t be an elite MLB anymore, which would be devesating for us, considering how putrid our defense is without him.

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