Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs should not play in Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans. He should take his time and make sure that his injured Achilles tendon can take the pounding of an NFL game.
Suggs tore the Achilles in his right leg back in May. At the time it was believed that he would miss the entire 2012 season. Suggs vowed that he would not. Few believed him, but here he is about to suit up Sunday. This is only five months after the injury. Most Achilles injuries take six months to a year to heal.
As stated in a previous blog on Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, I have suffered two Achilles injuries. I ruptured the right one in 1999. I am currently in rehab for the left one which popped in July of this year. I think I can speak to what one goes through with this injury and how long it takes to heal.
This is why I say Suggs is coming back too soon. Sure, he is an elite athlete. It is true that he has had the best medical care since the injury. It is also, true that Suggs is a young man at 30. However, anyone with an Achilles injury should proceed with caution. It takes time for the tendon to reattach itself. It takes time to strengthen it. It takes time to regain agility and balance. After my first Achilles injury I regained balance, but never my agility.
Strength, agility and balance are all key elements to a football player’s success. This is the case no matter what position he plays. Suggs is a linebacker. They must go forward, backward and sideways quickly more than any other player. By playing Sunday, Suggs will put himself in jeopardy of damaging the Achilles again through stress.
It was quick, forward moves that led to my injuries. Suggs probably hurt his the same way. He will make a lot of quick, sudden moves on Sunday.
There are many reasons why Suggs wants to play against Houston. The Ravens defense is banged up as linebacker Ray Lewis is out with a torn triceps muscle. Cornerback Lardarius Webb is out with a knee injury. Nose tackle Haloti Ngata is playing with a knee injury. Suggs may feel that the team needs him to play more than he needs to get healthy.
However, Baltimore is 5-1 at the moment. They are one of only two teams in the AFC with a winning record. The Texans are the other. A win over Houston would be big, but a loss would not harm the Ravens that much. Baltimore will need Suggs more in December and January than October.
Suggs is putting himself at risk of further injury by playing Sunday. Common sense says that he should not play. He knows this, but is willing to take that chance.
Let’s hope that Suggs knows what he is doing.