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Sports Then and Now



NFL Knee Fractures Now And Then 0

Posted on February 11, 2018 by Joe Fleming
One of the most famous leg injuries of all-time occurred on a Monday Night Football game in 1985.

One of the most famous leg injuries of all-time occurred on a Monday Night Football game in 1985.

Starting in Pop Warner league, most coaches teach players to tackle low and block low. So, it is not very surprising that there are so many knee injuries in tackle football.

Most players can come back after even rather serious ligament or tendon injuries. The knee has a rather large network of these muscles, so if one doesn’t entirely heal, the others often take up the slack. But there’s only one bone, and if it is at all compromised, there is nothing else to bear weight and provide mobility. As a result, a serious knee fracture often means the end of the line, or at least the end of the salad days.

Zach Miller, 2017 Chicago Bears

In an October contest against the New Orleans Saints, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky found his tight end near the right sideline of the end zone for an apparent touchdown. Officials overruled the call because Miller did not sufficiently possess the ball long enough “to clearly become a runner,” as the rule requires. So, the Bears had to settle for a field goal in a game they eventually lost 20-12.

But the real story is the injury that Miller sustained. At first, trainers said his knee was only dislocated. But the more trainers and doctors looked, the worse it got. The dislocated bone partially severed an artery, and Miller’s leg filled with fluid. He later said that amputation was only a “couple wrong turns away from actually happening.”

J.J. Watt, 2017 Houston Texans

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is one of the most effective, and one of the most popular, players of his or any generation to line up in a three-point stance. But in an October game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Watts’ left foot struck his right ankle as he pressured the quarterback, resulting in a tibial plateau fracture to the bone directly below his knee.

Even though Watt is only 28, he already has a history of injury and, immediately prior to the knee fracture, was in the midst of the longest sack-less streak of his professional career. So, this latest setback is probably either career-threatening or the start of a very compelling comeback story. Read the rest of this entry →

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