It seems like athletes everywhere are recovering from injuries faster and faster, especially in the NFL. Ray Lewis came back from a torn triceps muscle in less than three months after he was expected to miss the remainder of the season. Before that, Adrian Peterson returned from a torn ACL and MCL in just nine months to rush for the second-most yards in a single season in league history. So, in a sense, we’ve become accustomed to these super speedy recoveries. However, they’re actually creating problems for other athletes trying to repeat these incredible occurrences.
Obviously, all athletes should train as hard as they can in a healthy manner to return from injury, but there’s a line that can’t be crossed or it will result in worse damage to the body. Of course, these young studs tend to think they’re invincible and who can blame them? I’d think the same way if I had a chiseled statue of a body like Peterson’s. But not all athletes are capable of coming back from an ACL tear to record their best pro season.
Two young athletes that are sponsored by Adidas are creating problems for themselves because of what guys like Lewis and Peterson were able to accomplish recently. Derrick Rose and Robert Griffin III have each appeared in television commercials talking about their returns from ACL tears. Granted, Griffin’s ad is primarily focused on the notion that whatever was accomplished last season doesn’t matter anymore, but it blatantly displays Griffin’s vow to play in Week 1 despite tearing his ACL in the Washington Redskins‘ Wild Card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks in early January. So he actually has less time to recover than Peterson did, yet the theme of these Adidas commercials is Week 1.
Rose tore his ACL at the end of April, so it hasn’t even been a year yet and everyone is making a big fuss about the fact he’s not playing yet. Some doctors and therapists automatically make their official prediction of recovery time from an ACL tear as at least a year and as long as 18 months. The standard to which these athletes are being held because of a few freak recoveries is very unfair and their official sponsors aren’t doing them any favors.
Had Rose not appeared in so many Adidas commercials promoting the hashtag #TheReturn, would we be judging him so harshly for not being on the floor not even 11 months later? The man is arguably the most explosive player in the NBA and utilizes extremely sharp, quick cuts and sudden vertical leaps to put up MVP-caliber numbers, so it’s only natural for him to want a completely stable state of mind and body before returning to such grueling action right in the middle of the playoff stretch run. However, the ads promoting #TheReturn have made us impatient, which is causing Rose unnecessary grief.
Griffin very easily could experience the same thing a few months from now. It hasn’t even been three months since his ACL tear and we’re already talking about him being ready in time for training camp. Right after the surgery to repair the tear, Griffin was projected to be ready in six to eight months. That’s literally less than half the time given by some doctors and therapists for this kind of injury, which is the second suffered by Griffin in the last four years.
If Rose and/or Griffin are forced to miss excess time because of premature returns, how can Adidas not be blamed? The athletes would have to shoulder at least some of it, but these two young stars aren’t the only ones who could be affected.
Peterson is sponsored by Nike and although that’s not the reason he was able to return so quickly, what’s to stop other companies from running similar ads for star athletes recovering from injury like the ones Adidas is using with Rose and Griffin? It could become a competition to see who can recover the fastest from an ACL tear, which would put tons of young careers in jeopardy. At that point, #TheReturn could refer to players like Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell and no one wants that.