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Typical time of return from ruptured Achilles is 11 months


In the 24 hours since the Eagles announced that left tackle Jason Peters suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, there’s been plenty of speculation about whether he’ll be able to play in 2012. It’s too early to say what the prognosis is for Peters, who will undergo surgery on Tuesday. But if Peters is like the typical NFL player who suffers a ruptured Achilles, he won’t see the field until 2013.

Dr. Mark Schwartz provided some bad news for Eagles fans to, calling a ruptured Achilles tendon a career-threatening injury, and saying that if Peters has the typical time of recovery, he wouldn’t be able to play football again until at least a month after next year’s Super Bowl.

“Of those who did return back, the average length of recovery was almost 11 months prior to returning, with a [minimum] of seven months,” Schwartz said. "[Of] those who did get back, there was a decrease . . . in their ability to perform on the field. So this is a significant injury to a player in the NFL, especially an offensive lineman who weighs 330 pounds and relies on the explosiveness of his legs and his feet.”

Schwartz said about one-third of NFL players who suffered ruptured Achilles tendons never played in the NFL again, although it’s possible that many of those were marginal players who weren’t good enough to make a roster, or older players who decided to retire rather than go through the grueling rehab needed to get back on the field after such a serious injury. Peters is a Pro Bowler who from all accounts will be ready, willing and able to rehab himself, but that’s going to take significant time.

Several NFL players suffered ruptured Achilles tendons during training camp and the 2012 regular season. Bengals cornerback Leon Hall suffered a ruptured Achilles in November; if he needs the typical 11 month recovery time he’d miss about the first five games of the 2012 regular season. Buccaneers running back Earnest Graham suffered the injury in late October; at 11 months he’d be expected to miss the first three games of 2012. Panthers linebacker Jon Beason suffered the injury at the start of the regular season, so he’d likely be ready to go for the preseason. Lions running back Mikel LeShoure suffered the injury at the start of training camp and is expected to be at full speed for training camp this year.