While expecting 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree to miss the season because of last week’s torn Achilles seems the conventional wisdom, some point to Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs’ comeback a year ago from the same injury as a reason for hope.
But Suggs said it’s hard to compare injuries, and pointed out that even though he was on the field the end of last season, he was far from himself.
“I was still effective against the run because you can play the run with your legs and your arms,” Suggs told Clark Judge of CBSSports.com. “But as far as pass rushing, you need a tremendous amount of explosion, and I didn’t have that right off the bat for a large portion of the season. . . .
“I can’t tell you for sure what [Crabtree] should expect when he comes back because it’s different for players at different positions. For me, my explosion didn’t really get there until the end of the season. So, my guess is that he wouldn’t be Michael Crabtree right off the bat.”
Suggs said the hardest part of preparing himself for those early stages of the recovery was literally doing nothing. Athletes are conditioned to work, and not pushing himself too fast is crucial with such an injury.
“The first two-and-a-half to three months he’s going to have to be patient and content within himself,” Suggs said. “Because he can’t move. My doctor told me, ‘You’ve got to give me three months, . . . just three months, . . . of lying down and not doing anything. No hobbling around on it, nothing like that. You can’t move. Nothing.’ So he shouldn’t try to lift his upper body.
“Any doctor will tell you there’s nothing that could’ve prevented the injury. So take time; take your three months and chill out. It’s going to be miserable. It’s going to be the worst thing ever to watch other people play while you sit on the sidelines with a boot on or while you’re on crutches. But take those three months and get your mind focused on the rehab ahead and attack it like an S.O.B.”
Suggs also talked about the importance of a solid support group, mentioning the number of coaches and folks at home who kept him motivated through the brutal rehabilitation. So while it can be done, it won’t be easy, and managing expectations for Crabtree will be as important as managing the pain.