Among the numerous Bears injuries this season, one man who’s been lost in the shuffle a bit is Tarik Cohen. It’s been 14 months since he tore his ACL against the Falcons last year, and for the first time this season, Matt Nagy has finally admitted the team would’ve liked to have him back in the lineup by now.
“Would we have loved to have him back sooner? Yeah, but that's not the case right now and that's OK,” said Nagy. “He's working his tail off to get better.”
That was an unexpected concession from the Bears head coach, but to be fair, it was unreasonable to expect an Adrian Peterson-like recovery from Cohen. Peterson tore his ACL on Christmas Eve in 2011. Just over nine months later, he scored two touchdowns as the Vikings’ Week 1 starter in 2012. But Peterson is an outlier. According to a study published in the Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery, from 2009-2015, the average time it took NFL players to return to the field after undergoing reconstructive ACL surgeries was 49.7 weeks, or just under a year.
While Cohen is well beyond that average, it’s important to remember that number is simply an average. Everyone recovers at a different rate, and no two rehabs go exactly the same way.
“We all understand that and the only thing we can do is attack it every day and just kind of see, OK, where's it at,” Nagy said. “Then for us, as we communicate with him and our trainers and doctors, we know what he was years ago and even last year fully healthy and now the goal is OK let's get him back, but let's do it at the right time and whenever that time is, he's going to tell us, the trainers are going to tell us.”