Safety Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers returned to action Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. He did not last through the first quarter as a right calf injury finished him for the day. Polamalu missed the previous three games due to the calf. He is not expected to play Thursday against the Tennessee Titans.
The problem he is experiencing may be due to lingering effects from an Achilles injury suffered in 2010. If it is his career may be in jeopardy.
Two years ago Polamalu suffered a lower right leg injury early in the season. It was thought at the time to be a calf strain. Polamalu played the first 13 games before sitting out two. He returned to the field in a week 17 victory over the Cleveland Browns then played in two post season games and Super Bowl XLV.
It was reported late in 2010 that Polamalu’s injury was a strained Achilles tendon. If Pittsburgh had not been headed for the post season, he probably would have been put on injured reserve and done for the year. With a chance to win the Super Bowl he was not.
The 2010 NFL defensive player of the year played all three post season games, but was not at full strength. Hampered by the injury Polamalu played more coverage and did not blitz as often. The Steelers were able to defeat the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets without a reckless Polamalu, but in the Super Bowl could not stop the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Polamalu played all 16 games in 2011. The calf did not seem to be a problem. It was the first season since 2008 that he was able to play in every game. In 2009 he missed 11 games after suffering a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
However, an Achilles tendon is one which needs time to heal or could linger. Any damage to it effects the leg from heel to hip. This includes the calf. I know this from suffering ruptures to both of mine. I am currently in the process of rehabilitation on the left one. The area that is giving me my biggest problem is the calf.
Since Polamalu has never had surgery on his Achilles he has still been playing on it. The more he plays the weaker the area around it becomes. Most doctors do not like to perform surgery on an area unless they deem it absolutely necessary. Since Polamalu can walk and run there has seemed to be no need for him to go under the knife.
However, when he hopped off of the field Sunday my first thought was he’d suffered a torn Achilles. Fortunately it only seems to be a calf strain.
Whether it is the calf or Achilles Polamalu has a real problem on his hands. Though he may not need surgery the calf may always be weak from the damage done to the Achilles. If the problems continue, Polamalu may need more medical tests done in order to get it fixed.
Let’s hope that Polamalu recovers and is able to return to full strength soon. Let’s hope that he can not do any more damage to his calf or Achilles.
Seeing Polamalu leave the game Sunday without being hit has to make one wonder if the injury is a little worse than originally thought. It also brings up the question of whether it is a result of his 2010 Achilles strain.
If it is his career may be in jeopardy.